SAN JOSE – A cold front affecting Costa Rica on the weekend with rain and wind gusts of up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour so far has killed at least two foreign tourists, knocked down dozens of trees and caused electricity blackouts in different parts of the country.
The two victims died while they were sleeping and a tree fell on their room in a small hotel in Cahuita, in the Caribbean coastal province of Limon, as a result of the heavy winds besetting almost the entire country, said the head of operations with the National Emergency Commission (CNE), Sigifredo Perez.
Local media identified the tourists as a Swiss couple named Balmere, both of whom were in their 70s.
The CNE official added that two other people were seriously injured and taken to a hospital in Guacimo, also in Limon province, after a tree fell onto their vehicle.
The CNE said that heavy wind gusts have been felt since Saturday, resulting in some 60 trees knocked over and power blackouts around the country, as well as several homes that have lost their roofs, especially in the central Pacific province of Puntarenas.
Emergency authorities also reported rivers that have overflowed their banks in the northern part of Costa Rica and along the Caribbean coast due to the heavy rains brought by the cold front.
The latest report from the National Weather Service (IMN) says that the front is located right over the country and is bringing wind gusts between 60-106 kph, mainly along the Caribbean coast and in the higher elevations.
The rains have ranged between 75-160 millimeters (3-6.3 inches) over the past 12 hours, the IMN said.
The forecast is for continued rain over virtually the entire country on Sunday, with very strong winds between 100-120 kph in the mountains and 70-90 kph elsewhere in Costa Rica.
The CNE is maintaining the intermediate-level yellow alert for the northern and Caribbean sections of the country, and a green (preventive) alert elsewhere.