By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Heavy rainfall in the Região Serrana in Rio de Janeiro state forced some 300 residents to leave their homes in Nova Friburgo, which was devastated by flooding and landslides at the same time last year. More floods hit the region yesterday after 135mm (over 5.25 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours – more than half the average forecast rainfall for the whole of January, meteorologists said.

Communities are on high alert after flooding hit the Rio state municipality of Nova Friburgo, image recreation.
Rains forced some 300 residents to leave their homes in Nova Friburgo, image recreation.

Warning sirens were activated in a number of districts inundated by the downpours in the mountainous outlying regions of Rio state, and a number were still on high state of alert as night fell on Monday.

The region’s inhabitants know all too well how prone the area is to flash flooding and mudslides – in January 2011 floods took at least 903 lives, mainly in Nova Friburgo and Teresópolis.

The Civil Defense are continuing to monitor the situation from specialized stations. Late on Monday night the city lifted the state of alert and moved to the state of attention, after the reduction of rainfall.

The rainfall also caused chaos for travelers flying from Rio’s Santos Dumont airport, with flights delayed or canceled. The airport was forced to close for short periods during Monday.

There have been four deaths attributed to heavy downpours in the neighboring state Minas Gerais since October 2011.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.


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