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.
28 March 2007
Folks, this is starting to worry me.