Floodwater in Uruguay
Severe weather has affected Uruguay since Friday 15 April 2016, with a tornado and several floods causing the deaths of at least 7 people. One person has been reported as missing and over 3,000 people have evacuated their homes.

The heavy rain began to fall on 15 April 2016, with a peak on Saturday 16 April. According to the Uruguayan National Meteorological Institute (Institudo Uruguayo de Meteorología, INUMET) as much as 180 mm in 24 hours was observed in Rocha, in the east of Uruguay, on the 16 April 2016. The same day 150 mm of rain in 24 hours have been recorded at the San José station and 140 mm in Florida, both of them in the south of the country.

Significant rain has been observed also on Sunday 17 April 2016, with a maximum of 121.5 mm in 24 hours recorded at Pasos de los Toros station in Tacuarembó Department, in central Uruguay.

The last update of the meteorological bulletin issued by INUMET, reports Orange Alert (level 3 of 4) all over the country, with heavy rains and severe wind gusts expected.

© Montevideo Portal

Tornado in Dolores

On the afternoon of Friday 15 April, 2016 a tornado hit Dolores, a town of 20,000 inhabitants in Soriano Department, close to the Argentinian border. Four people have reportedly died as a result.

The tornado reached peaks of 250 km/h, causing four casualties and more than two hundred injured. According to the National System of Emergency (Sistema Nacional de Emergencias, SINAE) significant damage to houses and buildings has been reported.

The Soriano area is well known for tornadoes, with almost a yearly occurrence, although usually in non-urbanised areas, where they develop without issue and causing little to no damage to the local population.

Floods force thousands to evacuate

© Met Uruguay
As an effect of the heavy rain that occurred in Uruguay in the last 72 hours, water levels in the rivers have risen significantly and the number of people forced to leave their homes reached 3,663.

According to SINAE, 1,280 of them have been evacuated by local Civil Defence authorities. Displacement of people took place in all the departments of Uruguay, although mostly in Colonia and San José, with 1,228 and 1,250 people evacuated respectively.

© Met Uruguay
Flood related deaths

At least three people have lost their lives while they were trying to cross flooded rivers or roads. One victim died in Rocha Department, one in Maldonado and one in Canalones. A fourth person is missing in San José, reported to have been dragged away by the water flow.

Flooding also caused 32 roadblocks, forcing also the closure of the national highway connecting the capital Montevideo with Sacramento de la Colonia and to Argentina.