Nasty Thunderstorms Hit Buenos Aires, Move Toward Bolivia

By Dan DePodwin, Meteorologist
January 26, 2014; 4:50 AM ET
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In the wake of oppressive heat, a stormy week has unfolded in Argentina and Uruguay with damaging winds and torrential downpours. The unsettled weather will shift northward this weekend, bringing flooding rain to Bolivia.

Violent Storms Rock Buenos Aires

After torrential downpours and damaging wind gusts, less humid, dry and sunny weather will return to central Argentina and southern Uruguay to close the week. Quiet conditions are expected to spread northward into the weekend.

A series of strong cold fronts helped spark nasty thunderstorms this week across much of Argentina and Uruguay. On Thursday, Buenos Aires was soaked with over 5 cm (2 inches) of rain while Carrasco, Uruguay received 5.5 cm (2.17).

In addition to the torrents of rain, brief but strong wind gusts accompanied many thunderstorms. A gust to 114 kph (71 mph) was recorded in Sauce Viejo, Argentina, while Cordoba was buffeted by a 92-kph (57 mph) gust. Several more wind gusts are detailed in the table below.

Wind Gusts on Thursday

City, Country
Wind Gust in KPH
Las Flores, Argentina
150 kph
Sauce Viejo, Argentina
115 kph
Captain Corbeta, Uruguay
93 kph
Cordoba, Argentina
93 kph
Buenos Aires, Argentina
81 kph
Rosario, Argentina
65 kph

This stormy pattern was a continuation of unsettled weather from earlier in the week. Meteorologist Erik Pindrock explained, "The clashing of the hot, humid air with cooler, drier air led to a round of thunderstorms Monday night into Tuesday across northeastern Argentina and Uruguay, including the cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo."

Strong thunderstorms associated with a cold front will continue their march northward into the weekend allowing nice weather to return to previously stormy areas.

Thunderstorms, Flood Threat Shift North This Weekend

While relief from nasty storms and oppressive heat will come to parts of Argentina and Uruguay, flooding rainfall and gusty thunderstorms will spread northward into Paraguay and Bolivia this weekend.

With plentiful moisture streaming southward and an advancing cold front, thunderstorms will ignite across southern Bolivia and much of Paraguay Friday. The threat of the heaviest storms should shift a bit northward this weekend, impacting northern Bolivia and southern Brazil.

In general, 4 to 8 cm (1.5 to 3.1 inches) of rain is expected with some locations receiving closer to 12 cm (4.7 inches) through the weekend. The cities of Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia as well as Asuncion in Paraguay should be doused by heavy rain and gusty thunderstorms. Flooding will be a concern across the region.

Bolivia Weather Center
Santa Cruz de la Sierra Forecast
Paraguay Weather Center

As was the case farther south in Argentina, some thunderstorms will produce wind gusts over 80 kph (50 mph) which can down trees and power lines. A combination of high winds and saturated ground due to soaking rain can exacerbate the problems.

In this Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, photo, teenage girls cool off in a water fountain in Buenos Aires, Argentina. An intense heat wave is plaguing Argentina as temperatures soar above 100 degrees. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

The mountains of Bolivia northwest of Santa Cruz should experience the highest rainfall amounts with some locations nearing 25 cm (10 inches) by the end of the weekend.

By early next week, the threat for flooding is expected to shift eastward into eastern Paraguay and southeastern Brazil.

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