SAN JOSE – Tropical Storm Nate has caused seven deaths in Costa Rica and triggered severe flooding and affected thousands of people in that Central American nation, officials said on Thursday.
The most recent report by the National Emergency Management Commission said more than 5,000 people were being housed in 80 different shelters nationwide and that 600 of those individuals had had to be rescued by police, firefighters and the Red Cross.
On Thursday, President Luis Guillermo Solis declared a national state of emergency to expedite the mobilization of resources to those affected by the storm and also urged people to remain calm and heed authorities’ orders.
The storm did not make landfall in Costa Rica, but it pumped in moisture from the Pacific Ocean and brought torrential rains to the country.
The northwestern province of Guanacaste and the southern province of Puntarenas, both located on the Pacific coast, are the areas hardest hit by the flooding that started on Wednesday.
Perez Zeledon, a canton that is part of San Jose province, also has been badly affected by the rains.
A mudslide in San Marcos de Tarrazu, a town in San Jose province, killed a 3-year-old girl, while a falling tree killed a 51-year-old woman in Guanacaste province.
A 13-year-old also reportedly died when a mudslide buried his home in Buenos Aires, a town in Puntarenas province.
Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Nate, which was centered over eastern Honduras on Thursday evening and packing maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h (40 mph), have caused extensive flooding in Costa Rica since Wednesday, when the system was still a tropical depression.
Nate is expected to move toward the north-northwest across eastern Honduras on Thursday evening and over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.
The center is then expected to move near or over the northeastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula and adjacent islands late Friday or Friday night and move into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, the NHC said, adding that Nate could be near hurricane strength as the center approaches the Yucatan.