Tropical Storm Alma leaves 2 dead, abundant damage in Nicaragua
At least two people died and several more
remained missing Friday in Nicaragua as a result of tropical storm Alma, which also caused abundant damage to buildings, power lines and roads.
Coronel Ramon Arnesto Sosa, director of the National System for Disaster Prevention (Sinapred), said heavy rain caused flooding as rivers overflowed banks throughout the Central American country's Pacific coast, especially in the cities of Leon, Chinandega and Managua.
Two people were electrocuted, Civil Defence officials said. Media reports pointed to a third person killed in a car crash.
Sinapred said almost 25,000 people were evacuated in the provinces of Leon and Chinandega, where lessons were called off after Alma arrived in Nicaraguan territory on Thursday. The Nicaraguan Army deployed thousands of its officers for rescue missions.
Strong winds ripped the roofs off of at least 200 homes in western Nicaragua, and trees and light posts were uprooted.
In Managua, rain caused flooding in many neighbourhoods on Lake Xolotlan. A bridge over the Pista Suburbana - one of the city's main streets - was damaged.
In Costa Rica, Alma caused damage to property of at least 5,400 people - including 1,000 homes - and to infrastructure including roads and bridges.
Several mudslides cut off road links between Costa Rican capital San Jose and the south of the Central American country. Parrita and Guanacaste, on the Pacific, and San Isidro de El General, in southern Costa Rica, were particularly badly affected by the effects of the storm.
Costa Rican authorities promised aid to victims of Alma, hundreds of whom remained in emergency accommodations Friday.
Alma took Central American authorities by surprise, having formed at an unusual location and time of year and surging in strength from a tropical depression to a powerful, well-organized storm system within a few hours.
The storm dumped heavy rains across Central America, although it was considerably weakened by late Thursday, over Nicaraguan territory. Downgraded to a tropical depression, it proceeded to cross into Honduras, towards Guatemala and Belize, dpa reported.