Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul may have more record level flooding

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A drone view shows gas cylinders deposited in a flooded area in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil May 12, 2024. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Porto Alegre, Brazil (Reuters) – Less than two weeks after floods devastated Brazil’s southern Rio Grande do Sul state leaving at least 143 dead, the state is again on alert this Sunday with the risk of water rising once more to record levels.

Under intense rain since Friday, four rivers about 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of capital Porto Alegre are recording rising levels, according to government data.

Guaiba lake, on the edge of Porto Alegre, is already overflowing in several locations and is rising.

The Guaiba, which receives water from the entire valley region, could exceed the 5.35 meters (6 yards) recorded last week to reach 5.5 meters, a record flood for the capital, researcher Fernando Fan from the Institute of Hydrological Research at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, told Radio Gaucha, a local radio station.

“We already have news of flooding in several cities. And this water will reach Guaiba and Porto Alegre,” Fan said.

The state has suffered from overwhelming rain since April 29. Storms, landslides and floods have displaced over 538,000 and left 81,000 homeless in 446 of the State’s 497 cities.

Near the valley of the Taquari river, one of the four where water is rising again, residents were trying to return to their homes as a new alert asked people to leave the area once more.

“We are removing people from risky areas. We will have another large event,” Mateus Trojan, the mayor of Mucum, one of the towns affected, told Reuters.

On Saturday residents of Mucum began to remove mud from inside their homes.

The following day, cleaning was interrupted due to the risk of the fourth flood in seven months.

Near Porto Alegre, camping under the rain by the side of a road, displaced people looked with apprehension at the resurgence of a flood that they expected to begin to subside.

“It’s already rising again,” said Fernando Ayres, who fled his home when a dike broke and flooded his neighborhood.

“If it rises any further, I don’t know if it won’t flood as far as where we are.”

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