31 December 2009

Mudslides in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Posted by Dave Petley

Various international news agencies are reporting that the year is ending with a number of fatal landslides in and around Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. For example, the BBC report says:

“Heavy rains have caused floods and landslides in Brazil, leaving at least 11 people dead. Officials said the worst incident had occurred in Jacarepagua, in the western part of Rio de Janeiro state, where a family of five died in a landslide. The state has been hit by 24 hours of downpours threatening new year celebrations on Copacabana Beach”

Whilst the report on AP says:
“Heavy rains in the Rio de Janeiro area have triggered mudslides that have killed at least 18 people. Rio de Janeiro state’s Office of Civil Defence says that more deaths are likely as more rains are expected.”

A quick look at the TRMM cumulative precipitation graphs for this area suggests that it has suffered from a prolonged period of heavy rainfall, mostly falling in heavy rainfall events:

Further rain is forecast for the next 24 hours.