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Deadly flooding in Rio de Janeiro triggers state of emergency

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
April 10, 2019, 8:12:11 AM EDT


A state of emergency was declared in Rio de Janeiro after torrential downpours caused flooding and mudslides that killed at least 10 people on Monday and Tuesday.

Emergency personnel acted quickly to rescue people trapped in cars and on the streets.

Reuters reported that a woman and her 7-year-old granddaughter were buried in a mudslide as they rode in a taxi, and the driver’s body was also found inside the vehicle. Two adult sisters died when their home in a slum was buried in a mudslide, while a man drowned in another part of the city, the mayor’s office said in a statement.

Large parts of the city have been inundated, including Copacabana and the neighborhoods of Botafogo and Jardim Botanico. Major roads remain closed and impassable by flooding, fallen trees and broken pavement.

More than 380 mm (15 inches) of rain fell in the Copacabana neighborhood within a 24-hour period causing roadways to turn into raging rivers.

“These rains are absolutely abnormal for this time of year; none of us expected so much rain at this time,” Mayor Marcelo Crivella told an early morning news conference.

Although April is still one of the wetter months in Rio de Janeiro, normal rainfall for the entire month is only around 107 mm (4.20 inches).

(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

A man walks on a street damaged by heavy rains in the Jardim Botanico neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Relatives cry as they watch a search and recovery team place the bodies of their relatives into a forensic vehicle, near the area of a mudslide caused by heavy rains, in Rio de Janeiro

(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

An abandoned vehicle sits in floodwaters caused by heavy rains in the Jardim Botanico neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Men stand on pieces of asphalt alongside a road washed out by heavy rains in Jardim Botanico neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Relatives cry as they watch a search and recovery team place the bodies of their relatives into a forensic vehicle, near the area of a mudslide caused by heavy rains, in Rio de Janeiro.


"The rain isn't fully done, but the worst has passed. There can still be locally heavy rainfall farther north in Espirito Santo; however, rainfall will be generally light around Rio de Janeiro into Thursday" AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Eric Leister said.

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"The flooding was caused by a slow-moving frontal boundary that interacted with a feed of moist air from Brazil's tropical interior," added Leister.

Many residents took to social media to share images and videos of the crisis.

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