28 March 2007

The Deluge II

Folks, this is starting to worry me.

It's 6:45 AM and I should be headed for work, but I can't get out of my house. There's water all over my sidewalk, it must be a foot deep in the street, and it's still raining. It has never really stopped. Last night the sky cleared up a bit but then the clouds gathered again and rain's been pouring down all night.

About 240 mm of rain have fallen over Rosario and its area since the start of the deluge. Just to give you an idea, the average annual precipitation here is less than 1,100 mm. I guess they'll have to update that. As of the latest news, there are 2,200 people evacuated. The first batch were taken to the place usually reserved for such emergencies, the Communications Battalion No. 121, a large military facility in the south of the city, but it filled up yesterday and there are now 910 people sleeping inside the Newell's Old Boys stadium. The evacuees are being taken there by buses belonging to the municipal transport company. They're given time to clean themselves up and provided with mattresses, bedsheets and clothing. Following their custom, veterans of the Falklands/Malvinas War have installed a kitchen and are cooking for the evacuees. Most of them are poor, often mothers with four, five or more children; in many cases, where the water level is not deep, the men have chosen to stay and guard their scarce possessions.

The Paraná River is not going to rise more, but rain continues to fall on the basin of the Ludueña Stream. The Ibarlucea Canal, a derivation that enters Rosario from the northwest, overflowed yesterday and flooded several neighbourhoods, some of them with water levels of 1.5 m. The public works needed to prevent this kind of flooding won't be in place until 2 years from now.

TN's Mr. Bazán was sent to Rosario (see video) to cover the situation. Even for a typical porteño this guy was completely oblivious to... well, everything. He seems to think Rosario and Santa Fe City are near each other, or suburbs of each other. He didn't research anything about the floods of the Ludueña Stream. He spoke of the 2003 flood and how our relationship to the river has changed — it was Santa Fe City and it was the Salado River in 2003, you idiot!

At least eight schools will be closed in the metropolitan area, because they're flooded or because the facilities were otherwise damaged by the rain. National Route 9, which goes west towards Córdoba, is unusable in at least one segment, and so is National Route 22.

The National Meteorological Service says the bad weather will continue until at least Friday, with rain, storms, and maybe hail. The last hasn't happened here this time, but in Esperanza, west of the provincial capital, orange-sized hail fell yesterday.

PS: As of 9 AM there are 2,500 evacuees; they're reading the facilities of the Hipódromo (horserace track) to receive them. In the radio they're mentioning two other possible sites (private sports clubs). In my neighbourhood we have an informal "yellow alert", since water is entering through the streets; many sewer pipes are badly maintained and blocked by garbage. Only 6 blocks from here, as reported, the water is already inside the homes. Only last year we were commemorating the 20th anniversary of the last flood. The situation has improved since then, as the Ludueña Stream has been mostly piped or channelized, but this is really too much rain.

The Paraná continues to rise: it was at 5.06 m yesterday and is now at 5.18 m, which is 18 cm above the alert level and just 12 cm below the evacuation level. People are being evacuated also in Granadero Baigorria, just north of Rosario, and the San Lorenzo Stream (near San Lorenzo) is overflowing.


  1. Pablo – how much further will the water have to rise before it will flood the bottom of your house? Have your moved everything from the ground floor just in case?

    I guess you still have electricity/telephone/cable service. Are most of the utilities underground in Rosario? I would imagine the city’s sewage system is overwhelmed.

    Were you able to have your electromyographic study done yesterday?

    Wishing you and your family all the best!


  2. The water was maybe 5 cm below our porch at its highest point, and there's a step there, so I'd say no less than 20 cm. Fortunately the water went away eventually. The sewers were indeed overwhelmed and partly blocked, but the amount of rain decreased.

    We were all very worried mainly because of the memories of the 1986 flood. There were no power or telephone cuts so I was listening to and watching the news, and they were not encouraging. We'll see.

    I had my EMG study done without a problem yesterday. The results will have to wait a bit.

    Thanks for your concern!

  3. Anonymous19:41

    I hope you stay dry Pablito - I disagree with someone else's post a bit back - I entirely blame global warning - I live in a lovely picturesque apartment with 2 balconies on a small island that is a part of Miami Beach's archipeligo of 33 islands - luckily enough in an area close to "Li'l Buenos Aires" with many of your compatriots (the Rosarinos are by far the cutest - jaja). But I'm going to take a change of life direction and move into the city near the airport with a friend who has a nice portioned home that is also on high dry land - the warnings for the 2007 hurricane season are already coming in and global warming, not just in my opinion, made the 2005 season something not easily forgettable (I lost my entire bedroom to Wilma - I'm not reliving that or worse this summer). Of course, as everywhere, the rich are insured amply to protect them against loss, the poor and middle class? must pray and flee (or both simultaneously). Roberto desde Miami


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