Tropical Storm Nate created havoc in many parts of Costa Rica on October 4th and 5th. Strong winds swept across the land knocking over trees. Torrential rains plummeted the country. There was major flooding causing landslides, taking out roads, bridges and houses. Many homes and business were flooded. In some areas power was out for several days. The Southern Zone, where we live, was hit especially hard. The damage was catastrophic! Raging rivers overflowed their banks taking whatever was in their path with them. Our neighbor Gib recorded we had 26 inches of rain in 24 hours!
In the throes of the storm, I was returning to Costa Rica from the States. My flight was scheduled to land in San Jose in the early evening of October 4th. Well, that didn’t happen; the pilot made one attempt and aborted the landing. He wasn’t a particularly communicative pilot, so we really didn’t know what was going on except that bad weather had closed the airport. My flight was diverted to Managua, Nicaragua, where we had to spend the night! That was an adventure, for sure. Fortunately, I met some very nice people, particularly three ladies who were also traveling alone. We ended up sticking together. It’s always fun to make new friends!
On the morning of October 5th, my flight landed in San Jose during very heavy rains. Eddie was waiting for me at the airport. He had stayed overnight at our favorite B & B in La Garita, which is about a 10 minute drive from the airport. He informed me that we were going to have to stay at Margarita’s because all the roads to the beach were closed due to damage from the storm. Well, we ended up having to stay at Margarita’s until Saturday morning, October 8th! Thank goodness for our neighbors, Toni and Gib. They took care of our cat, Rusty and our little dog, Olivia and checked on our house until we could get home.
The Tarcoles Bridge, also known as the crocodile bridge, was closed during the height of the storm due to high winds and water level. We heard the river rose to about four feet below the bridge. The photo to the right was taken during the dry season; the people on the bridge are looking at the huge crocodiles swimming below. I took the photo on the left from the truck when we were driving back home (same side of the bridge). You could see the debris…showing how much the river overflowed its banks. Unbelievable! The town of Tarcoles had flooding and we heard that many residents were afraid that the crocodiles would be swimming into their houses, so they spent the night in the trees. Not sure if that was true or not, but those crocodiles are dangerous. A few years ago, a drunk guy went swimming in the river and was mauled alive by the crocodiles. It was all caught on film and the news showed it over and over. A couple of days later, the head was found on a beach and that was all that was left of that man. We saw the head recovery on T.V. and it was quite graphic…no censorship here!
The photos above are of Dominical beach. The two on top are where the Baru River mouth is located. Several people’s homes where swept away.
Further south (about an hour and a half drive), the areas around Palmar Sur and Sierrpe were devastated. A couple hundred homes were completely flooded and families lost everything. Community support (locals and expats together) in surrounding areas have banded together to bring aid to these families. Within two weeks, volunteers have cleaned up the water damage and mud in most of the homes. The families have been given food, new bedding, cook tops, dishes, linens, clothing and other essentials to start them over. The volunteer coordinators of the TS Nate Relief Effort are truly amazing!