Jim Andrews

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South America Storm Brings Damaging Winds, Flooding Rains

September 24, 2012; 9:37 AM

Hurricane gusts and flooding rains pounded areas of Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and southern Brazil last week as a severe storm blew up along the South American coast.

At least seven storm deaths were reported, the Xinhuanet website said.

The website showed pictures of toppled trees and a boat washed ashore in hard-hit Uruguay.

Winds were as high as 150 km/h (90-95 mph), according to multiple media reports.

In the southern Brazil state of Rio Grande do Sul, rainfall exceeded 7 inches at Encruzilhado do Sul and was almost as high in Porto Alegre.

Rainfall in the state may have been substantially higher in other areas. Top rainfall of 200 to 300 mm (about 8 to 12 inches) had been expected, according to the Metsul Blog.

Five people in Paraguay were killed, and a further 80 injured, by the powerful storm, the BBC Mundo Spanish language website said. Four of the fatalities happened in a barracks roof collapse near Asuncion.

In Uruguay, the storm prompted a "red alert" by the government for southern and eastern districts, including Montevideo.


Powerful coastal storm ready to exit off eastern Uruguay, based on the GFS surface pressure analysis for 1800 UTC, Sept. 18, 2012. Lowest pressure is near 985 millibars.

Weather observations accessed by AccuWeather.com showed winds to at least 66 knots (76 mph) at Montevideo's Carrasco Airport.

Across the water in neighboring Argentina, storm tides lifted the Rio de la Plata Estuary to a stage of 2.75 meters at Buenos Aires.

The high tides were caused by the storm's powerful southeasterly winds piling Atlantic Ocean water into the Plata estuary.

These storms are known by the Spanish name "sudestada," which means, essentially, "southeaster." The are analogous to the "Nor'easter" of North America's Eastern Seaboard.

The storm began to form Tuesday over northeastern Argentina, as a cool outbreak from the south met a full-blown heat wave to farther north. Tuesday night, the clash of contrasts bred flooding cloudbursts in southern Brazil.


At 1800 UTC, Sept. 18, the center of deep low pressure was off Rocha, Uruguay, as depicted on this GFS 10-meter windspeed and streamline analysis. Its powerful southerly and southeasterly winds at this time were directed against the Uruguay coast between Punta del Este and Montevideo. Lightest blue indicates near-gale; greenish patch near the storm center shows 45-50 knots (about 52-58 mph) sustained winds.

By Wednesday morning, a powerful storm was strengthening explosively over Uruguay, nearing the coast. During the next several hours, this storm unleash its highest winds and waves along the Uruguay coast.

Farther north, a powerful cold front swept northward into the heat of Paraguay, western Brasil and eastern Bolivia. It was this bulldozing weather system that sparked the deadly thunderstorms in Paraguay Tuesday night.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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About This Blog

Jim Andrews
The International weather blog from AccuWeather.com is written by Jim Andrews who has more than 10 years experience forecasting outside the United States.