La Niña driving severe rains and floods in Brazil and Australia

The La Niña event established this year is particularly intense and maybe the most severe in a 100 years. Such events are known to give warm sea surface temperatures and greater evaporation giving heavy rains in the Western Pacific in Australia, less rain in the Eastern Pacific on the western coast of S. America (coastal Chile and Peru) but increased rain on the east coast in southern Brazil and  northern Argentina.

Yesterday, heavy rainfall and floods in Brazil  claimed 80 lives.

UPDATE!! This morning the death toll is reported to be over 250.

UPDATE 2!! 13th January: Now death toll is around 400.


More than 80 people have died in towns near Rio de Janeiro as heavy rains continue to cause flooding and mudslides in south-eastern Brazil. Overnight downpours triggered landslides in the mountain town of Teresopolis, where more than 50 were reported to have died. At least three firefighters were among several people buried in mudslides in Nova Friburgo.

Brazil has seen severe flooding this year which has left thousands homeless.

The death toll is expected to climb as rescuers reach remote villages in the mountains. One report, compiling official and media figures, put the toll so far at 93.

This week, torrential rains in neighbouring Sao Paulo state left 13 people dead and brought traffic chaos to Brazil’s biggest city. In Teresopolis, 100km (62 miles) north of Rio Janeiro, a river burst its banks, submerging buildings, while the rainfall set off several mudslides.

The rains and floods in Queensland have claimed 13 lives so far but the peak in Brisbane a few hours ago was fortunately about 1 m lower than in the 1974 floods. Nevertheless many thousands of homes have been inundated and the damage to Queensland industry and agriculture is severe. The final death toll is likely to be higher since it is feared that some bodies will only be discovered after the waters recede. Now heavy rain and flash floods have hit Victoria as well.

The Guardian:

The devastating flooding in Queensland is the result of Australia being in the grip of an unusually strong “La Niña”, a periodic climate phenomenon that brings more rain to the western Pacific, and less to South America along the eastern Pacific.

“The Queensland floods are caused by what is one of the strongest – if not the strongest – La Niña events since our records began in the late 19th century,” said Prof Neville Nicholls at Monash University and president of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. “The La Niña is associated with record warm sea-surface temperatures around Australia and these would have contributed to the heavy rains.” Warmer oceans produce damper air and hence more rain. This is driven onshore by the stronger east-to-west trade winds characteristic of La Niña.

In both Australia and S. America the rains have about another 2 months to run.

related posts:

June 2010 –

October 2010 –

Tags: , , , ,

One Response to “La Niña driving severe rains and floods in Brazil and Australia”

  1. Current La Niña most intense in 50 years « The k2p blog Says:

    […] Related:… […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: