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Unusually powerful Subtropical Storm “Yakecan” hits Uruguay and Brazil

subtropical storm yakecan 1330z may 17 2022 f

Hurricane-force winds and heavy rain brought by Subtropical Storm “Yakecan” hit parts of Uruguay and Brazil over the past couple of days, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power and at least 2 people dead.

An extratropical cyclone moved through the southern region of Brazil on May 15 and stalled offshore, bringing heavy rain. It then made a retrograde movement and obtained subtropical characteristics by May 17, receiving the name Yakecan.

Meteorologist Scott Duncan described Yakecan as a ‘rare and violent cyclone’ that could be ‘historic for intensity at this latitude in South America at this time of year.’

Uruguay’s capital Montevideo registered wind gusts up to 100 km/h (62 mph), forcing authorities to issue an Orange weather alert.

Roofs were blown off, around 23 000 customers were left without power, and at least one person lost his life.

According to officials, a 23-year-old man was killed in Montevideo when a tree fell on his house amid gusts of 98 km/h (61 mph).

The storm brought winds up to 130 km/h (80 mph), storm surges, flooding and power outages to at least 220 000 homes in southern Brazil on May 17.

A boat carrying three people ran aground during the cyclone on Lake Guaíba in Porto Alegre. A 51-year-old man drowned while the two other men on board managed to swim ashore.1

Yakecan also produced snow in the Gaucha and Catarinese Mountains and another natural event as unusual as the cyclone itself – an invasion of sea foam along the Atlantic coast.2

According to Alejandro Pradenas, a marine biologist, the foam was most likely a result of abundant microalgae.

Temperatures have been forecast to plummet in several Brazilian states and there have already been hailstorms in southern Santa Catarina state.

Yakecan is expected to continue affecting the region through May 19.

subtropical storm yakecan 1330z may 17 2022 bg
Image credit: NOAA/GOES-16, Zoom.Earth, The Watchers

References:

1 Cyclone Yakecan batters Uruguay and Brazil – BBC – May 18, 2022

2 Subtropical cyclone Yakecan batters Brazil and Uruguay – May 18, 2022

Featured image credit: NOAA/GOES-16, Zoom.Earth, The Watchers. Acquired at 13:30 UTC on May 17, 2022

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