Hundreds in shelters following relentless rainfall, destructive flooding in Ecuador
Residents gathered their belongings and cleaned muddy streets after floods inundated the Tabiazo village in the Esmeraldas province of northern Ecuador following heavy rain. More than 500 people were evacuated from their homes.
Unrelenting rainfall deluged portions of Ecuador over the weekend as rivers overflowed their banks and floodwaters inundated entire communities. AccuWeather forecasters say a series of nearly stationary storms were to blame for the destructive flooding.
Nearly 12,000 people were affected by flooding across the coastal province of Esmeraldas Saturday into Sunday, according to AFP. The province is located in far northwestern Ecuador and shares a border with neighboring Colombia.
Torrential storms developed over the western portion of the province Saturday evening and barely moved until Sunday morning. For some parts of the area, including the province's capital city of Esmeraldas, rain persisted for 12 consecutive hours.
Nearly 1,500 rescues have been carried out across the province since the flooding began, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso confirmed on Twitter on Monday.
Residents recover their belongings after a flood when several rivers jumped their banks in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, Monday, June 5, 2023. The coastal province of Esmeraldas was flooded on Sunday after 12 hours of continuous rain that caused six rivers to overflow and evacuations. (AP Photo/Cesar Muñoz)
The deluge of rain caused six rivers in the province to overflow and spill into neighboring communities, Lasso said.
Rescuers worked tirelessly to pull people from the wide swaths of deep, muddy waters. Rescues were carried out by land, boat and air, according to AFP.
As of Tuesday, nearly 700 people in affected areas have been relocated to shelters, according to Lasso.
AccuWeather forecasters say a phenomenon known as "training" contributed to the flooding disaster. Training storms are storms that move over an area one after another or storms that remain almost stationary and keep redeveloping over the same location.
Storms impact northern Ecuador in this infrared satellite loop from the evening of Saturday, June 3, to the morning of Sunday, June 4. (CIRA/RAMMB)
Typically, when there isn't enough wind in different levels of the atmosphere to blow storms in different directions, storms are not forced to move away and therefore remain stuck in place.
In the coming days, Mother Nature will not lend a helping hand to those recovering from and beginning to clean up after the floods.
"There can be additional moderate to heavy rain over the next couple of days which may slow cleanup efforts," AccuWeather Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls said.
The forecast looks to become a bit better for recovery operations by later this week and into the weekend.
"There can still be showers, thunderstorms and perhaps isolated downpours around Friday through the weekend, but overall rainfall looks lighter in most areas," Nicholls added.
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