Sunday, May 30, 2010
Two persons are missing and hundreds have been evacuated. Water was six feet deep across the Atlantic Highway near Los Amates and traffic was backed up for 15 kilometers on both sides of the flooded area.
Millions in damages have been sustained in the municipality of Los Amates. Important bridges are destroyed, streets and drainage systems collapsed. The municipal planner for Los Amates says 60 percent of the infrastructure has suffered damage.
The El Rico bridge collapsed, leaving 70 communities isolated. 1,200 homes are still underwater.
The flooding has caused heavy damage to agriculture and livestock operations in the area. The areas most affected include: El Rico, Finca Nueva, Quiché, Las Viñas, Seguana, Las Lomas, Puebla, Chiriquí, Dakota. Also affected are the banana fincas of Bandegua (Compañía de Desarrollo Bananero de Guatemala, S.A.)
Flooding of the Motagua also caused heavy damages in Gualán, Zacapa, where numerous homes remain underwater.
More than 50 persons were discovered to have perished in Chimaltenango as a result of the rains and flooding from Tropical Storm Agatha, raising the death toll in Guatemala to 80 persons.
The Rio Motagua is running well above flood stage. It has destroyed the railroad bridge at El Rico near Los Amates. Approximately 284 homes have been damaged so far.
Flooding of the Motagua River has covered and blocked the Atlantic Highway at kilometer 180, between Gualan, Zacapa and Los Amates, Izabal.
The Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil announced today that La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City will remain closed for three more days. Cleanup of the ash from the eruption of Volcan Pacaya continues and the airport cannot be opened until the work is complete.
Volcanic ash is extremely destructive to jet engines and the runways and jetways must be completely cleared of the ash. The heavy rains from Tropical Storm Agatha are in some ways helping the process by keeping the dust down but make the work more difficult in other ways.
The rain has abated and there are patches of blue sky here in Rio Dulce at 7:30 AM. A friend in Antigua Guatemala reports that the rain has stopped. But this is because we happen to be between rain bands. Tropical Depression Agatha is still with us and the rains will continue off and on as the rain bands pass over us.
The forecast indicates the bad weather will clear out by Wednesday with Wednesday and Thursday being mostly sunny. Note that in the tropics you cannot depend on such forecasts but they are an indicator.