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The First Costa Rica Born Tropical Storm

Costa Rica, C.A.
Communities of Perez Zeledon are Just Now Regaining Road Access After Alma.

The effects of tropical storm Alma, the first of the season, are still being felt in the southern zone of Costa Rica where a RECORD AMOUNT OF DESTRUCTION occurred along the Interamerican Highway and many families are still without shelter after watching their properties get washed away in the floods. The storm provoked at least 34 landslides that obstructed or destroyed large segments of road trapping some 1,500 people for two days and cutting off the south of the country and access to Panama. Alma, which is the first tropical depression ever to be born in Costa Rican territory, is said to have caused more damage than hurricanes in the past, including Hurricane Cesar that passed through in 1996 destroying sectors of the same road. In the past, hurricanes have affected the country indirectly because they were relatively close, but never before was a storm ever born in their waters. Low pressure and a heavy accumulation of clouds, with rain and lightning that somehow set off differently than was expected and high ocean temperatures helped in the formation of the storm. When the cloud formation hit the warm water, the speed of the wind increased dramatically, giving birth to what was categorized a tropical depression, soon becoming a tropical storm. This took place some 50 kms away from the coast of Guanacaste, SOMETHING NEVER EVER SEEN BEFORE! This occurred this year because of the rainy activity along the Pacific coast, which usually occurs in the Caribbean. Meteorologists pointed out that this had occurred previously in Mexico, but that never before had this phenomenon occurred in their waters. The IMN reckons that during this period, they received between 50 and 80 millimeters more water than usual in some regions of the country, and this is going to surpass the average rainfall that they get normally during this season in these sectors. In the mountains, the precipitation could easily reach 100 millimeters, and winds in the northern and central Pacific can be expected to reach 70 kms per hour. The rain that continues to fall in the region is making it hard for workers to begin the process of rebuilding some of the sectors of road that washed away.

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'Surprise' Tropical Storm Arthur caused damage in Belize. The storm formed suddenly in the Caribbean and swept across Central America on June 1-2, following on the heels of Tropical Storm Alma and catching Belize's 300,000 residents by surprise. Heavy rains and strong winds have caused flash flooding that claimed at least four lives in Belize, although officials have not confirmed the death toll. Thousands have been driven from their homes by rising waters. Roads and bridges have been severely damaged, leaving parts of the country inaccessible. The storm also wiped out papaya plantations, shrimp farms, and the rice crops, devastating the nation's economy and food supply.
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