Drought-stricken Sao Paulo hit by floods

Torrential rains leave Brazil’s largest city under water after months of severe drought.

Sao Paulo floods
Evening commuters struggled to make their way home, following torrential downpours [AFP]

Downpours have wreaked havoc across Sao Paulo, causing widespread flooding. Almost 100mm of rain fell in little over an hour on Wednesday, turning streets and avenues into rivers.

Sao Paulo’s Emergency Management Centre recorded 96mm of rain in just 60 minutes. Dozens of cars were submerged, trapping their occupants as the water rose quickly around them.

The city saw some of its worst traffic disruption on record, as evening commuters tried to make their way home, following the storm. Some cars were even swept away in the appalling conditions, and a state of alert was declared in the worst hit parts of the city.

One man was electrocuted when a falling tree brought down overhead power lines as he was trying to escape from his car.

The severe floods have arrived during what has become the worst drought to hit Sao Paulo in more than 80 years. Ironically, it is still not enough to replenish the city’s reservoirs to any great extent.

Unfortunately, the main reservoir is located 60km to the north and did not see anywhere near enough useful rainfall during the storm.

There are further showers in the forecast across the area over the next few days, but the city is likely to face water rationing over the coming months, because water levels are likely to remain critically low.

Source: Al Jazeera