The floods have affected nearly 40 cities across the state of Bahia, Governor Rui Costa told reporters in the city of Ilheus, one of the worst affected.
“This is a massive tragedy. I can not remember seeing anything like this in the recent history of Bahia, seeing the number of cities and houses involved. It’s really horrible, there are so many houses and streets that are completely are under water, “Costa said.
More than 35,000 people have been forced out of their homes, according to Bahia’s civil defense and protection agency.
In the city of Itambé, heavy rains caused a dam to break late Saturday, causing fears and worries about more flooding.
Brazil’s meteorological and natural disaster monitoring agencies warn that there is a risk of additional floods and landslides in Bahia, with the possibility of precipitation until at least Tuesday, according to Agencia Brasil.
CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford says the Brazil National Institute of Meteorology has issued heavy rainfall warnings for almost all of Bahia. Conditions are expected to improve in the state Monday and Tuesday, he said.
“Widespread precipitation for the next 48 hours will be somewhat improved, with many of the state seeing up to 50 mm, but there are local and isolated areas where up to 100 mm is possible.”
Most of the major cities affected by floods are in their rainy season, so rainfall is not uncommon, Shackelford said.
“For Itambé, December is their wettest month, with about 120 mm of rainfall for the month of December. Thus, they are forecast to get about two-thirds of a month’s rainfall in this event,” he said.