Massive floods close Panama Canal but end of world not near

Ship transit through the Panama Canal was suspended Wednesday as flood waters, the worst ever recorded, made transit impossible.

17 hours of prolonged heavy rain forced the closing, only the third time since the canal opened 96 years ago and the first time because of flooding. Panama’s civil protection system declared Eastern Panama on high alert and issued evacuation orders for over 1000 people in dozens of flooded neighborhoods.

Reopening on Thursday, operations are back to normal at this time and no cruise ship itineraries were affected reports

The Canal also closed in 1989 when the United States invaded Panama to depose bad guy Manuel Noreiga. In 1915 and into 1916 landslides closed the Canal, only months after it opened.

In case you missed it in history class, the Panama Canal was built by the United States between 1904 and 1914. It serves as a link between the Atlantic and Pacific ocean and handles more than 200 million metric tons of cargo every year.

Flickr photo by galif548