Around noon on Saturday, July 1, heavy rain caused a transmission line to go out in Panama, causing 5 million people throughout Costa Rica to be left without electricity for approximately five hours. Traffic light systems were disrupted, as well as internet service and some water pumping systems. Operations at Juan Santamaría International Airport slowed but remained in service.
The blackout affected 15 million people (60 percent of the total population) in Central America, including Panama (3.8 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.
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.
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.