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8 dead, more than 30 000 evacuated as severe floods and landslides hit Brazil

brazil-flood

Extreme rainfall has caused severe flooding and deadly landslides in the northeastern and southern Brazil over the weekend, claiming the lives of at least 8 people and forcing more than 30 000 to evacuate.

Authorities said that swollen rivers, mudslides, and falling trees in the state of Pernambuco forced the evacuation of at least 30 000 residents and killed four people. Four people died and another 3 000 families were evacuated in the neighboring Alagoas. Both states declared states of emergency.

In Pernambuco, more than 20 municipalities reported damage caused by heavy rain on Sunday, May 28, 2017. In several areas, meteorological stations recorded 300 mm (11.8 inches) within just 24 hours.

According to De Olho No Tempo Meteorologia, large amounts of rain flooded 70% of Barra de Gabiraba. The Pampas River in Belem de Maria overflowed and flooded much of the city, leaving the population homeless or displaced. In Caruaru, a vehicle was dragged by a stream that overflowed, killing one person. In the same municipality, a man was dragged by the flood waters in the locality of Sitio Lagoa da Pedra. Two people died after a hill collapsed and destroyed the house where the couple slept.

After six years of being practically dry, the Jazigo dam in Serra Talhada re-accumulated water and reached maximum capacity before the day's end.

72 hours of rainfall accumulation ending 15:00 UTC on May 29, 2017

72 hours of rainfall accumulation in eastern Brazil ending 15:00 UTC on May 29, 2017. Credit: NASA/JAXA GPM

According to rain gauge network of the National Center for Natural Disaster Monitoring and Alarms (Cemaden), most of the rain fell within 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday (May 27 – 28). Rio Formoso station registered staggering 307.87 mm (12.12 inches) of rain within just 24 hours (by 23:00 on May 28), 397.68 mm (15.65 inches) within 72 hours and 522.01 mm (20.55 inches) within 96 hours.

Floods in Pernambuco, Brazil on May 28, 2017

Floods in Pernambuco, Brazil on May 28, 2017. Credit: Brazil Civil Defence via De Olho No Tempo Meteorologia

In the neighboring state of Alagoas, heavy rain seriously affected the Maceió Metropolitan Region with almost 200 mm (7.87 inches) within 24 hours by Saturday morning. "Weekend's heavy rain fell on already saturated soil, making it extremely unstable," experts at the De Olho No Tempo Meteorologia said.

In the municipality of Marechal Deodoro, in the metropolitan area, a landslide left four dead and at least 33 injured, according to information provided by the Fire Department, Civil Defense and the City Hall.

72 hours of rainfall accumulation southern Brazil ending 15:00 UTC on May 28, 2017

72 hours of rainfall accumulation southern Brazil ending 15:00 UTC on May 28, 2017. Credit: NASA/JAXA GPM

Heavy rains also hit southern states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.

In Rio Grande do Sul, at least 48 municipalities reported some type of damage due to a large amount of rainfall. Several rivers overflowed, leaving families homeless or displaced. Large hail and strong winds were also reported.

In Santa Catarina, more than 20 municipalities reported some type of damage associated with severe weather (rain, hail, and wind).

Landslide in Santa Catarina, Brazil - May 28, 2017

Landslide in Santa Catarina, Brazil – May 28, 2017. Brazil Civil Defence via De Olho No Tempo Meteorologia

More heavy rain is expected across the country in the days ahead, especially in southern and northwestern regions:

Featured image: Floods in Pernambuco, Brazil on May 28, 2017. Credit: Brazil Civil Defence via Deolho No Tempo Meteorologia

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