Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:06 PM GMT on April 09, 2010
The world's deadliest and most expensive weather disaster so far this year hit Brazil this week, where at least 183 people are dead due to flooding and mudslides in the Rio de Janeiro region. Damage from the flooding has been estimated at 23.76 billion reais (US$13.3bn, €9.9bn), about 8% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Rio de Janeiro State. Rio's heavy rains began near 5 pm local time (2000 UTC) on Monday April 5, and continued for 24 hours, with a total of 28.8 cm (11.5") of rain falling--more than the average rainfall for the entire month of April. It was the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in Brazil's 2nd largest city. The rains triggered devastating mudslides that roared through slums built on steep, unstable hillsides. According to the Associated Press, crews have pulled 17 bodies from the debris so far at at a new mudslide that hit in Niteroi, next to Rio, on April 7. Authorities fear an additional 150 people may have died there.
Figure 1. Flooding from this week's record rains in Rio de Janeiro. Image credit: Carolina Goncalves / Agência Brasil.
Figure 2. A mudslide in Niteroi, next to Rio de Janeiro, is feared to have killed 200 people. Image credit: Vitor Abdala / Agência Brasil.
The previous deadliest weather disaster this year was the snow avalanche in Afghanistan that killed 172 people on February 8 and 9.
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