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Days of heavy rain, floods and deadly landslides across Central America


A slow moving low pressure system coming from the Caribbean Sea started affecting Nicaragua and surrounding countries on October 9th dumping record amounts of heavy rainfall. By October 20th, floods and landslides that followed claimed lives of more than 30 people throughout the region.

The accumulated rainfall in Nicaragua was quite significant. Above 60 mm was measured in Masatepe, Masaya and Granada on October 9. In the particular case of the municipality of Nandaime, Rivas Tola, the accumulated rainfall exceeded 100 mm.

In Altagracia, Rivas Department, 378 mm of rain fell in 24 hours between October 8 and 9, breaking previous records.

5 mudslides were reported in the Concepción Volcano and 1 in the department of Rio San Juan at the time but heavy rain continued and the number of disasters increased.

Over the last few days the flooding has affected parts of the capital Managua. At least 9 people died after 5 houses collapsed in one of the city’s poor communities on October 16.

Video credit: EuroNews

Severe weather affected about 32 000 people and all 17 of Nicaragua's departments. 24 people lost their lives there since October 9.

El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have all recently been affected by heavy rainfall.  According to Guatemalan CONRED, at least 3 people died and around 16 000 was affected by flooding in the departments of Guatemala, Sacatepequez, San Marcos and Suchitepéquez on October 17.

This was a second round of severe weather to hit Guatemala in last 30 days. In late September, severe flooding left 5 people dead after heavy rainfall inundated areas of Escuintla, Chimaltenango, San Marcos, Baja Verapaz, Jutiapa, Huehuetenango and Guatemala departments.

CONRED's analysis indicates that as of Sunday, October 19, 2014, there is very high and high probability of landslides and floods in at least 64 percent of Guatemalan territory. Wet conditions could increase again starting Monday, they said.

Image credit: UW-CIMSS

Heavy rain produced by the remnants of Tropical Storm "Trudy"  soaked Mexico over the weekend. Landslides claimed lives of 6 people, authorities reported on Sunday, October 19, 2014.

Trudy's remnants are expected to produce as much as 150 to 300 mm of rain. It is possible that some isolated spots along the Pacific coast, including the Acapulco area as well as the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca in southern Mexico, might see as much as 500 mm. 

Life-threatening flash floods and landslides are possible over the next few days, especially across the hilly and mountainous areas.

Featured image: GOES-EAST infrared image acquired October 20, 2014. Image credit: UW-CIMSS

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