UPDATE: Flooding Rainfall in Buenos Aires results in at least 54 deaths
Torrential rainfall associated with heavy thunderstorms resulted in flash floods that have killed at least 54 in the Buenos Aires Province of Argentina. Press reports claim that up to 400 mm (16”) of rain deluged the town of La Plata in the space of just two to three hours early on Wednesday morning (April 3rd).
Heavy rain began falling on Tuesday in Buenos Aires and then sagged southeast to La Plata, a city located 63 km (40 miles) outside of Buenos Aires, where the rainfall rate peaked between 3:00-5:30 a.m. on Wednesday April 3rd. The Buenos Aires Observatorio, the city’s official weather site, measured 188.1 mm (7.41”) of precipitation for the 24-hour period ending at 3 p.m. local time (18:00 UTC) on April 2nd with an additional 7.5 mm (0.30”) falling over the next 24-hours for a storm total of 195.6 mm (7.71”). La Plata measured 15.0 mm (0.59”) on April 2nd and 181.0 mm (7.13”) on April 3rd for a total of 196 mm (7.72”). In both cases, however, the majority of the rainfall occurred in just 2 or 3 hours. According to the mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, this was the 2nd heaviest rainfall in the city since records for such began in 1906. The 196 mm is the equivalent of double what the total April monthly precipitation normally would be.
The official 24-hour record rainfall for the nation of Argentina is 359 mm (14.13”) at Gualeguaychu on April 29, 1912.
At least 35 fatalities have so far been reported from the La Plata area and six from Buenos Aires (these figures have recently been updated bringing the death toll to 54 as of 5:00 UTC April 4th). Most of the deaths in La Plata apparently occurred in the city’s suburb of Tolosa and were caused by people taking refuge in their cars and drowning. Electrocution resulted in deaths in Buenos Aires.Rescuers patrol the flooded streets La Plata, Argentina where at least 35 drowning fatalities have been reported so far.
Photo from the Buenos Aires Herald newspaper.
The system responsible for the heavy storms was associated with an upper level trough and cold front that swept across Chile and Argentina from the Pacific Ocean over the past three days. I have not yet been able to locate satellite or radar imagery of the thunderstorms responsible for the excessive rainfalls.
Christopher C. Burt