South America Flooding (Mar/Apr 2017)

As of Wednesday April 12, over 260,000 buildings have been affected by flash and river flooding, mudslides and landslides in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay. In the past week, severe rainfall has impacted Argentina and Paraguay leading to flash flooding and mudslides which have destroyed at least 2,000 buildings and severely damaged several hundred more . Argentina . Prolonged heavy rainfall for more than two weeks has led to severe flash flooding and mudslides across the south of the country. At this time, the worst affected region is the Chubut Province in southern Argentina. Local media reports that around 80 percent of the buildings in the province have been impacted. In Comodoro Rivadavia (pop. ~177,000), at least 2,000 homes have been destroyed and several hundred buildings have been severely damaged, according to local media reports. According to local media, several neighborhoods are under at least 3.2 ft (1 m) of mud or floodwater . Local authorities confirmed that at least 10,000 people have been affected in Comodoro Rivadavia alone. At least 3,000 people are currently residing in emergency shelters around the city. According to officials, more than 12 in (300 mm) of rain fell in the region between March 29-31, equivalent to ten times the average for March and more than the average annual amount of 9.4 in (238.7 mm). A further 15.4 in (390 mm) of rain fell in the period to April 7. Several cities and towns have been cut off including Diadema Argentina, Caleta Cordova and Laprida, impacting several thousand people . The flash flooding and mudslides have damaged several major highways and washed away multiple bridges. The infrastructure damage is severely impacting the relief efforts in the region. One fatality and several minor injuries have been attributed to the flooding . Paraguay . Prolonged intense rainfall has led to severe flash flooding in southern Paraguay, impacting several districts in the Itapúa department. According to local authorities there have been three separate flash flood events. A dam at the San Benito lake was breached, resulting in floodwaters up to 9.8 ft (3 m) traveling downstream towards La Paz. Significant damage has been reported, though there are no estimates of the number of affected buildings at this time. The Pirapó and Aguapey rivers overflowed their banks, causing significant damage to properties and crops. Damage assessments are ongoing . According to authorities, there have been no reported fatalities or injuries associated with this event. Impacts in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. Please see previous event summaries for details of the impacts in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. Meteorological Conditions and Forecast. The heavy and intense rainfall across South America has been attributed to anomalously warm sea surface temperatures of up to 29°C (84°F) along the tropical Pacific coastline of South America, a phenomenon known as ‘Coastal El Niño’. According to Peru’s El Niño committee, Coastal El Niños in Peru often precede the development of an El Niño phase of the ENSO in the equatorial central Pacific. El Niño phases of ENSO typically lead to increased rainfall and flooding in South America, particularly in Peru and Colombia . At this time, ENSO is officially in neutral conditions. . .

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