Uruguay Floods Worsen as Yaguarón and Uruguay Rivers Overflow

Levels of the Uruguay and Yaguarón rivers have continued to rise in northern parts of Uruguay, forcing more people from their homes.

Heavy rainfall from 14 October 2015 had increased river levels. Yesterday, areas of Uruguay and neighbouring parts of Argentina and Brazil saw yet more heavy rainfall and increased flooding could be on the way.

Thousands remain homeless in Porto Alegre and surrounding areas in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. More rain has since fallen in the area and could prolong the floods in the state. Bagé municipality in the south of the state of Rio Grande do Sul saw 108 mm of rain in 24 hours between 19 and 20 October, according to WMO figures.

Over 600 Displaced in Uruguay

Last week, SINAE, the disaster management agency in Uruguay, reported that 183 people had been displaced by flooding in the northern departments of Artigas, Salto, Rivera and Tacuarembó.

In their latest assessment, SINAE report that the number of displaced and staying in shelters has now increased to 649 in total after river levels increased further.

Rivers have overflowed in the departments of Paysandu, Artigas, Cerro Largo, Rivera and Salto, which is thought to be the worst affected area and where 416 people have been displaced.

Three highways – routes 24, 29 and 44 – have been blocked or damaged.

Rainfall Levels

According to WMO figures for a 24 hour period between 19 and 20 October 2015.

Tacuarembó – 95 mm
Salto – 58 mm
Paso de los Toros – 76 mm

Uruguay’s meteorological department (INUMET) figures show at least 10 locations have seen over 50 mm of rain in a 24 hour period to 07:00 on 20 October 2015.

Image: SINAE
Image: SINAE
Image: SINAE
Image: SINAE

River Levels

Floods in Cerro Largo have been caused by the overflowing Yaguarón river.

According to recent records, the Yaguarón in Cerro Largo stands at 3.62 ms, that is 42 cm above the safety height of 3.20 m.

Floods in Artigas, Salto and Paysandu have been caused by the flooding of the Uruguay River.

Levels of the Uruguay River at Bella Union, Artigas stand at 7.38 m, well above the safety height of 6.5 m but showing a slight fall from previous days..

At Paysandu, the Uruguay River is at 6.67 m. The safety level there is 5.5 m.

At Salto, the height of the Uruguay River has fallen slightly and now stands at 12.55 m, which is 55 cm above safety level of 12 m.

Flooded street in Paysandú, July 2014 Photo: presidencia.gub.uy
Flooded street in Paysandú, July 2014 Photo: presidencia.gub.uy