Extremely heavy rain hit the city of Petropolis (population 306 700), Brazil on February 15, 2022, causing severe floods and landslides in which at least 38 people lost their lives. Due to the severity of the event, the death toll has risen from 18 to 23 in a matter of hours and to 38 on February 16. By February 17, the number of fatalities rose to 94. Search and rescue operations are still in progress and the number of fatalities is still expected to rise. Petropolis is located in a mountainous region just north of the capital Rio de Janeiro.
Hourly rainfall rate went up to an extraordinary 125.8 mm (4.95 inches) at 17:15 LT in the Alto da Serra rain gauge. In Sao Sebastiao, as much as 259.8 mm (10.2 inches) of rain fell in 6 hours to 21:10 LT — close to the amount that fell during the previous 30 days.
Most of it fell in just 3 hours, according to the state fire department. Such hourly rates and total amounts in 3 hours are rare for any part of the world.
All that rain caused rivers to overflow and turned streets into raging torrents of mud and debris.
Brazil's Civil Defence Secretariat said that 269 landslides had been recorded.
In one of the worst affected neighborhoods, 80 houses are estimated to have been affected.
This mountainous region is prone to landslides. Its worst landslide event took place in 2011 when more than 900 people lost their lives.
Featured image credit: Sabrina Menegatti/Twitter
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