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Flooding Rainfall in Buenos Aires results in at least 54 deaths

By: Christopher C. Burt, 8:00 PM GMT on April 03, 2013

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
Weather Historian

Extreme Weather Precipitation Records Flood Mini Blog

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

wait... 16" of rain in TWO-THREE hours?
Thanks for the blog, Dr. Burt. Really dreadful weather extremes occuring these days all over the world!

Some more items about the Buenos Aires/La Plata flood are here:

...The flooding threatened to ruin food supplies across La Plata's metropolitan area, which has nearly 1 million people.

"There's no power in nearly the entire city," Casals said, adding that the flooding "wiped out the downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods such as Tolosa, Elvira, Los Hornos, with as much as 2 meters (more than 6 feet) of water, and people are on their roofs."

Many of the evacuees slept in their cars overnight. Transportation and business of all kinds in the city were at a standstill.

YPF said no injuries were caused by the refinery fire, which it blamed on "an extraordinary accumulation of rainwater and power outages in the entire refinery complex." The impact on Argentina's chronically short fuel supplies wasn't immediately clear....


Edit: Buenos Aires Herald with a lot of articles , f.e.

La Plata under water; death toll climbs to 46
Pressure was not particularly low in this storm.

Link

What kind of storm was this? An MCC?

April, (2)3rd midnight
Good Articles on this tragedy. Thanks for sharing...
Quoting barbamz:

April, (2)3rd midnight


hey Barb!
Could you provide the source of that image..I've been looking for a good South America/Africa satellite image
Thanks Doc!

6 inch per hour rain rate is pretty dang intense...



I looked at this picture and saw the Carolina Skiff and thought, those dang things are EVERYWHERE, just like.... and I see the V-Dub..

Old Bug, if the weatherstripping was newer, it would have floated away.

Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


hey Barb!
Could you provide the source of that image..I've been looking for a good South America/Africa satellite image


http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/images/sameri ca_sat_201304030000.jpg

It's from here
(click on the world map).

Here is another selection: http://en.allmetsat.com/images/south-america.php.

Unfortunately I coudn't find a site which allows you to track back the weather situation more than some hours. The satpic above was the only one I could find.

[And of course, I was j/k on the main blog, concerning the parent's control, lol]
Quoting barbamz:


http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/images/sameri ca_sat_201304030000.jpg

It's from here
(click on the world map).

And of course, I was j/k on the main blog, concerning the parent's control, lol


thank you Barb
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


thank you Barb


Welcome. I've edited my post. Have a look at the other link.

Here is a new video from the horrible and deadly flash flood that hit Port Louis (Mauritius) at March, 30th. World didn't take much notice of this sudden record downpour.
Quoting barbamz:

April, (2)3rd midnight


Thanks for this! The line of storms can clearly be seen moving over Buenos Aires (the white comma shaped cloud structure).
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.
see this http://www.wunderground.com/blog/sasastorm/comment .html?entrynum=7 and very god post dr Christopher