By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Yesterday, June 20th, the city of Rio experienced a twenty year record for rainfall in a single day. The Pluviométrica Station at Alto da Boa Vista recorded 247 millimeters of rain in the space of 24 hours, and more rain is expected to fall in the early hours of Wednesday, June 21st.
A government news agency reported that in an interval of eight hours, between 4PM yesterday and midnight, eleven rainfall stations recorded volume higher than expected for the entire month of June. According to the Center of Operations of the city hall, there were floods along many roads across fifteen neighborhoods of the city.
Last night the neighborhood of Tijuca in Zona Norte (North Zone) was under water again with the overflow of the Maracanã River, for the second day in a row. Also Zona Sul (South Zone) has been severely effected, and in the neighborhood of Jardim Botânico they received 130 millimeters, sixty percent more than expected for the entire month.
A stretch of more than a kilometer of Rua Jardim Botânico, the main street one of the neighborhood, was totally flooded. The most critical point was at the crossing with Rua Pacheco Leão. Transit was interrupted in both directions and the traffic was very complicated in the region, with reflexes in Gávea, Leblon, Lagoa, Humaitá and Botafogo.
An American expatriate and journalist in Rio, Kiratiana Freelon, shares that because of the rain, “The streets were empty last night at 10:30 PM, when I was leaving Praca Maua last night, the Uber [car service] couldn’t drive down some streets.” But she adds, “I live in Catete, which usually floods a lot! But they must have improved something because the area no longer floods as much any more.”
The sirens of the Sistema de Alerta (Alert System) were activated in seven favela communities in Rio: Borel and Formiga (Tijuca), Prazeres, Escondidinho and Vila Elza (Santa Teresa), Santa Alexandrina (Rio Comprido) and Guararapes (Cosme Velho).