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Panama: Heavy rain causes blackout that leaves 3.8 million people without electricity July 1

Heavy rain causes blackout that leaves 3.8 million people without electricity for several hours July 1; 60 percent of all Central American electricity shut off

TIMEFRAME expected from 7/3/2017, 12:00 AM until 7/3/2017, 11:59 PM (America/Panama). COUNTRY/REGION Panama

Event

Around noon on Saturday, July 1, heavy rain caused a transmission line to go out in Panama, causing 3.8 million people throughout the country to be left without electricity for approximately five hours. The blackout caused the metro system in the capital Panama City to shut down, with other trains and stations being closed temporarily. The Panama Canal was not affected.

The blackout affected 15 million people (60 percent of the total population) in Central America, including Costa Rica (5 million) and Nicaragua (6.3 million), as well as parts of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Electricity was restored in all countries by Saturday night. However, further outages remain possible and could occur without notice.

Context

The Central American countries' electricity grids are connected by a single 1820 km (1130 mi) electricity line, making them particularly susceptible to power outages. Further rain is expected in Central America in the next week. The rainy season in Central America is from late May until early November.

Since 2010, there have been seven blackouts that have affected all of Central America.

Advice

In the event of a power outage, individuals are advised to follow all directions issued by authorities and anticipate potential travel disruptions. ​Keep battery-powered devices charged as much as possible in case of additional power outages, which can occur without warning.

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