RIO DE JANEIRO — Two days of near non-stop rain have dumped a month’s worth of precipitation on the World Cup city of Natal, leading to a flood alert and raising worries that the deluge could affect the U.S. team’s debut match against Ghana.
No deaths or injuries have been reported in the rains, which began early Friday and abated only on Sunday, dumping in 50 hours as much rain as is usually seen in the northeastern Brazilian city during the entire month of June. With more rains forecast for the next five days, some people worried that the weather could affect the U.S.-Ghana match on Monday afternoon.
Natal’s City Hall declared a flood alert on Saturday and evacuated dozens of residents as a precaution in the Mae Luiza neighborhood in the city’s west. News reports showed images of residents wading through knee-deep waters as others pushed cars submerged up to the door handles. Additional reports showed a huge crater cutting across a street in a residential neighborhood.
Floods can often be deadly in Brazil, where intense rains, chaotic urban planning and garbage-filled drainage pipes sometimes result in landslides that bury entire neighborhoods. Poor neighborhoods, often built up steep hillsides, tend to be hit worst by such flooding.
The southern Brazilian regions of Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul have also been hit by recent floods.