- Red Cross photo -
Published on Thursday, September 9, 2021
The National Emergency Commission established a green alert in most of the country due to an increase in rains.
Green Alert was ordered for most of the country, from the Pacific Coast (Guanacaste and Puntarenas provinces) to the Central Valley (which includes the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago). This alert is given when it is anticipated that a meteorological phenomenon endangers those specific areas in the country. Based on the level of severity or alert, authorities activate the community's emergency commissions to take action due to the danger.
No alert was established for the Caribbean Coast (Limón Province).
In addition, the specialists are monitoring a new Tropical Wave, the #34 of the green station, which during Wednesday was located on the Atlantic coast of Venezuela. This natural phenomenon is expected to hit Costa Rica on the weekend.
According to the weather forecast of the Meteorological Institute, during the afternoon and evening, heavy rains and a thunderstorm could affect the green alerted regions where accumulated estimate rainfall between 30- 70 millimeters.
"The latest analysis indicates that in the next 3 days there will continue to be heavy rainy situations, which can generate accumulations of water of more than 100 mm in regions of the Pacific Coast where that probability is higher," the institute said in its report.
Specialists warn about high levels of soil saturated by heavy rains in the South Pacific Coast, Central Pacific Coast, northern zone of Alajuela province, Nicoya Peninsula and the Central Valley. The rains could generate flash flooding causing landslides and road closures. Heavy rains tend to over-saturate the sewers with water causing buildup and overflow of the sewage system.
According to the Red Cross emergency monitor department, the heavy rains registered on Tuesday afternoon in the city of San José caused flooding in Calle Blancos, Goicoechea, Desamparados, Aserri, La Union, Sabana, Alajuelita, Uruca and Hatillo.
Also, commission authorities reported an influx in 911 calls about floods in the communities of Lepanto, in Puntarenas Province and Grecia in Alajuela Province.
One of the most dangerous emergencies attended by the Red Cross paramedics happened on Tuesday in the community of Cuidad Colon, Mora Canton, in the rural area of San José Province. According to the report, a wall of water caused a rapid river overflow dragging a car with a whole family inside.
Red Cross rescuers received the support of the local firefighters who were able to save the family of nine: 7 adults, a three-month-old baby and a child. They were trapped on the edge of the river that intersects with the community of El Rodeo.
The family said that before they were rescued, they were in the rain for several hours. Some of them presented states of stress and hypothermia. However, none of them wanted to be treated at the clinic, the red cross said in its report.
According to the authorities, the increase in rainfall is due to the fact that the Intertropical Convergence Zone, ICZ, is located near the Pacific Coast. The ICZ, known by sailors as the doldrums or the calms due to the dull windless weather, is the area where the northeast and southeast trade winds converge. The zone appears as a band of clouds, usually accompanied with thunderstorms, that circles the globe near the Equator. This caused the overflowing of rivers and floods mainly in the mountainous areas of the country.
Authorities call on the public to take the following precautionary measures to avoid emergencies:
- Avoid aquatic activities in rivers (located in Emergency zones) such as swimming, diving, rafting, canyoning, river bugging, kayaking, cliff jumping, fishing, sailing, among others.
- Stay informed about alerts issued by the authorities.
- People living in mountain areas should increase precautionary measures against a possible landslide or material falling from the high areas of the hills.
- Have an emergency evacuation plan in the community, work and home.
- Drivers must increase precautions for heavy rain and fog.
- Take precautionary measures in case of electrical storms.
- Be alert in vulnerable areas to flooding due to sewer saturation or an increase of river flow.
- In case of a thunderstorm, take refuge in a safe place.
- In case of strong gusts of wind, be alert to possible falling tree branches or electrical cables.
- In the event of a landslide, do not walk on the debris, stay away from affected areas, and do not return home until authorities verify that it is a safe place.
Call 911 to report any possible flooding, fallen trees or landslides.
A.M. Costa Rica urges readers to share this alert with their contacts.
What emergencies have been reported in your community caused by the rains? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org