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Widespread flooding displaces tens of thousands across Uruguay, more severe rainfall on the way

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Extreme weather conditions continue to affect Uruguay. As of April 22, 2016, more than 10 000 people across all 19 departments of the country are currently displaced due to flooding. Over the last ten days, 10 people died in weather-related incidents.

Heavy rainfalls were affecting Uruguay since April 15 when an unusual, severe tornado and widespread flooding killed at least 7 people, one person went missing and 3 000 were forced to leave their homes. Since then, the death toll has risen to 10, and the number of people displaced by the flooding is 10 097, according to the Uruguay emergency authorities (SINAE).

Departments which count the highest number of displaced residents include Durazno (2 179), Treinta y Tres (1 695), Colonia (1 650), Paysandu (1 411), San Jose (1 250) and Artigas (639). The capital of Uruguay has not been affected by evacuations.

Traffic across the country has suffered severe disruptions, as numerous roads and highways have been closed in more than 30 locations. 

Baltasar Brum, Artigas, recorded 100 mm (3.93 inches) of rainfall in a 24 hour period between April 20 and 21, according to the Uruguayan Institute of Meteorology (INUMET). At the same time, Laguna Merin, Cerro Largo and San Antonio_SI in Salto reported 95 mm (3.74 inches) while 115 mm (4.53 inches) was observed in Belen, 103 mm (4.05 inches) in Termas de Arapey, 90 mm (3.54 inches) in P. de Valentin (Rincon) and 82 mm (3.23 inches) in Quintana, Salto. 

81 mm (3.2 inches) of precipitation was recorded in Palomas Salto, 87 mm (3.42 inches) in Valle Eden and 98 mm (3.85 inches) in San Gregorio, Tacuarembo.

72-hr rainfall accumulation as observed by GPM Core Observatory. Image credit: Google/NASA/JAXA GPM

In a 24 hour period on April 16, 180 mm (7.08 inches) was reported in Rocha, 150 mm (5.9 inches) at the San Jose station and 140 mm (5.51 inches) in Florida. Abundant amounts of precipitation were also recorded on April 17 as 121.5 mm (4.78 inches) of rain fell at Pasos de los Toros station in Tacuarembo Department.

Orange level rainfall warnings were issued by INUMET on April 20, and at least 10 regions recorded more than 80 mm (3.5 inches) of rain on the occasion. Torrential downpours are expected to continue on April 23.

Although the weather doesn't seem to be improving, SINAE claims the situation is under control across all the affected areas, and local authorities are cooperating to ensure support, health and safety of the citizens.

Featured image: 72-hr rainfall accumulation as observed by GPM Core Observatory. Image credit: Google/NASA/JAXA GPM

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