Paraguay River Floods from Space

Since late December 2015, heavy rains, driven by a strong El Niño, have increased river levels in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. At one point flooding had forced over 150,000 from their homes.

Many feared the worst in the Paraguay capital, Asunción. Thousands were evacuated from neighbourhoods along the river as levels of the Paraguay rose to 7.84 metres on 07 January, 2016 – well above the 5.5 metres considered to be “critical stage”.

Since then Paraguay’s La Dirección de Meteorología e Hidrología (DMH) report that levels have started to drop. FloodList reported on 12 January 2016 that levels stood at 7.61 metres. As of 18 January, they are 7.25 metres in Asunción.

The towns of Alberdi and Pilar were also under serious threat. Since then levels of the Paraguay have started to fall in Alberdi, where they now stand at 9.6 metres. They stood at 9.80 metres as of 07 January 2016. Levels are holding steady in Pilar at 9.1 metres.

However, over the last 24 hours, the Paraná River in Paraguay has risen in Salto del Guairá, Ciudad del Este and Encarnación. According to DMH the Parana has increased by 70cm in the last 24 hours in Ciudad del Este.

Images of the Paraguay River Floods from Space

Below are images from NASA’s Advanced Land Imager (ALI). The first image is from 12 January, 2016, where levels of the Paraguay at Asunción stood at 7.6 meters. For comparison, the lower image shows the same area on January 12, 2014, when water levels were more typical.

Floods from the Paraguay River, 12 January 2016. Image: NASA
Floods from the Paraguay River, 12 January 2016. Image: NASA
Paraguay River in January 2014. Image: NASA
Paraguay River in January 2014. Image: NASA