By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After a week of cold weather in southern Brazil, where the São Joaquim municipality of
Santa Catarina felt temperatures fall to -3 degrees Celsius (° C), intense storms have affected more than 30,000 people. Rain has been hitting the southern region since last Friday (July 10th) in the three states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
The rains continued yesterday (July 15th), with more intensity in Paraná and Santa Catarina. The National Institute of Meteorology (INMET) issued high danger alert to the states due to the accumulated rainfall and risk of flooding, landslides, as well as incidence of lightning and hail.
According the government media, in the state of Paraná, 24,653 million people were affected in 44 municipalities, 248 are displaced or homeless. One person died and 71 were injured; more than 3,000 homes were damaged and eleven destroyed.
In Santa Catarina, the rains affected 2,870 people in 45 municipalities – 64 are displaced or homeless. Eight people were injured and two died. According to the State Civil Defense, more than nine hundred structures were damaged or destroyed, including homes, public buildings and infrastructure and the water supply is compromised.
Santa Catarina has had extreme weather occurrences recently, in April this year residents of Xanxerê, Santa Catarina received help from Brazil’s army corps to remove debris left behind from tornado. The unusual phenomenon ripped through houses, leaving two dead, 120 wounded and at least one thousand without homes.
In Rio Grande do Sul, the number of affected people rose to 3,180 in 36 municipalities, of which 684 are in shelters. The rains remain in the northern mountains and north coast of the state. According to the state government, the situation is more critical in Esteio, where the city council decreed emergency situation. The Rolante and Riozinho and municipalities are also in emergencies.
According to INMET, the forecast for the southern region today is rain showers and isolated thunderstorms in southern Paraná, Santa Catarina and northern Rio Grande do Sul. Hailstorms are predicted in isolated areas of western and southwestern Paraná, west of Santa Catarina and northern Rio Grande do Sul.