PDC Weekly Global Flood Survey: January 19, 2012
Looking at precipitation and flooding over the last week, the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) Global Hazards Atlas shows rainfall over the last 7 days. As we can see, much of South America has had rainfall, although the heaviest has fallen from Bolivia into Brazil and then across the Amazon rainforest up into Ecuador and Columbia.
Shifting our focus eastward into Africa, there has been considerable precipitation from the Congo southward into the southern part of the continent through Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Botswana into South Africa. The northwestern area of Africa has had a smaller area of heavy rains as well, centering on the region of Algeria. The area north of the Caspian Sea to the east has seen considerable precipitation, with another area of heavy rainfall during the last seven days around Kazakhstan.
As is often the case this time of year, Southeast Asia has also experienced areas of considerable precipitation. This elongated area of high precipitation extends from the Gulf of Thailand down through Malaysia into Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
Looking northward, the northwest Pacific ocean to the south of Japan, eastward to the north of Hawaii, and then south of the Aleutian Islands, into the Pacific northwest states of Washington and Oregon have had considerable rainfall…some of which has been in the form of snowfall in British Columbia, Canada into Washington state. Eastward into the Colorado Rockies, there have been large snowfall totals to 20-30+ inches. Rainfall has been locally heavy across the northern Atlantic Ocean to almost the European west coast as well.
According to the United States National Weather Service (NWS) Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions will continue in the weak to moderate range through the spring season of 2012. During a La Niña event, we can expect trade winds to pick up, pushing warm water westwards towards Indonesia and the western Pacific. As a result, wetter than normal conditions are predicted for northern Australia and Indonesia from January – February. La Niña will potentially make for wetter than normal conditions across parts of southern Africa. In South America, northern Brazil can expect wetter than normal conditions while the west coast of the continent can expect drier than normal conditions.
PDC will be monitoring areas of high precipitation and keeping a close eye on flooding across the globe. Currently PDC is monitoring significant flood events in: Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Australia, Peru, Philippines, Thailand.
For the most up-to-date information on these flood events and all-hazards, download the free PDC Disaster Alert mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
Weekly Flood Highlight: Brazil
As depicted in the above image, torrential rains have continued to impact Brazil over the past seven days, further hampering disaster response and recovery operations within the country. Since early January Brazil has been battling extensive flooding. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), weeks of torrential rains have resulted in severe and widespread flooding across southeastern Brazil. The states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janerio and Espiritu Santo are reported as being the hardest hit. Estimates indicate that over 2 million people have been affected by the ongoing flooding, 27 have been reported deceased, 38,000 people have evacuated from their homes, and at least 103 municipalities have been placed under a state of emergency.
Multiple landslides have been reported in the impacted area. According to International Charter Space & Natural Disasters, at least 20,000 people were evacuated as a result of a dam burst impacting Rio de Janeiro in early January. Brazil was also impacted by torrential rains and severe flooding last January (2011) resulting in over 800 deaths and hundreds more reported missing.
The forecast for Brazil includes continued precipitation over the next several days. PDC will continue to monitor this hazard event!