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(506) 2223-1327                                    San JosČ, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 173                                    Email us
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Massive evacuation Thursday will shut down city
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The disaster simulation Thursday morning will be a massive event. The national emergency commission said that 94 buildings will be emptied and some 60,000 persons will be moved to open locations like Parque la Sabana starting at 10 a.m..

Expats probably should not count on getting any business handled that morning. The disaster is scheduled to last through the morning. At 11 a.m. rescue workers are scheduled to respond to a collapsed building to rescue survivors.

That will be near the statue of LeŪn CortČs in Parque la Sabana.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said that its workers and employees at its subsidiaries, such as Radiogr·fica Costarricense S.A. and the CompaŅĢa Nacional de Fuerza y Luz, would participate. That includes 6,500 workers and 30 buildings, the state company said.

In case of a real disaster, these firms that distribute power and Internet services will have their hands full. Thursday company officials are estimating an interruption of service to customers for about an hour,

simulation
Slogan calls for a prepared city

although that may be optimistic.

Organizers are the ComisiŪn Nacional de PrevenciŪn del Riesgo y AtenciŪn de Emergencias, the Red de ComitČs de Emergencia de los Centros de Trabajo de San JosČ and the Municipalidad de San JosČ.

The simulation is no surprise. There have been posters for several weeks in key buildings such as Hospital Clinica Biblica. The evacuated workers are expected to gather at Parque Nacional, the Plaza de la Democracia, the Plaza de las GarantĢas Sociales on Avenida 4, the boulevard in front of Correos de Costa Rica and at Avenida 5, Calle 1, said an announcement.

Downtown workers need no training. They usually fill the streets when an earthquake is felt. Simulation organizers have not laid out the scenario of the emergency, but with collapsed buildings, the disaster is almost certainly an earthquake. That probably is the only emergency that would require large quantities of people heading for open areas.



No break seen in El NiŅo conditions until mid-2016
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

America always has been vulnerable to droughts.

A prolonged drought from 800 to 1000 A.D. destroyed the classical Mayan civilization. Whole cities were abandoned.

Sometime in the last quarter of the 13th century similar weather conditions destroyed the Anasazi civilization in the U.S. Southwest.

Costa Rica is reeling today under a drought that is unprecedented in historical times. The  Anasazi and the Mayas did not know the cause, but today scientists point to El NiŅo, an unusual slug of warm water in the distant Pacific.

The World Meteorological Organization expects El NiŅo to strengthen and peak by the end of the year. "Typically El NiŅo events peak late in the calendar year," said the U.N. agency in a summary Tuesday.

Surface water temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean are likely to exceed 2 degrees C above  average, potentially placing this El NiŅo event among the four strongest even since 1950, the agency said, listing other strong events as those in 1972-73,  1982-83 and 1997-98.

For Costa Ricans El NiŅo means that Guanacaste has received rainfall this year that is from 85 to 40 percent less than normal, according to the Instituto MeteorolŪgico Nacional. The impact on agriculture is devastating in a province that is generally dry anyway.

And the outlook does not appear to be any better. In Guanacaste, the weather institute says that the rainfall shortage will be between 40 to 70 percent and from 10 to 50 percent down the Pacific coast. The central government last year declared a state of emergency. Some towns are having their water trucked in.

By contrast, the northern zone and the Caribbean coast have been wetter. And that

Guanacaste
Instituto MeteorolŪgico Nacional graphic
The reality of the drought in Guanacaste.

predictoin
Instituto MeteorolŪgico Nacional graphic
The prognosis for the rest of the year.

is expected to continue with rainfall from 30 to 60 percent above normal over the rest of the year.

El NiŅo has other impacts. The Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be among the mildest while the Pacific season has hit a record: There are three full-blown hurricanes in the Pacific now.

The El NiŅo phenomenon is expected to last through the first quarter of next year and then begin to decay, said the World Meteorological Organization, which based its estimate on previous El NiŅo events.


 
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