Porto Alegre City Hall ordered the preventive closure of the Guaíba flood containment floodgates. The measure, as Mayor Sebastião Melo (MDB) explained at a press conference on Monday morning (25), is to prevent the central area from flooding if the lake level reaches 3 meters. The forecast for the state is a week with more rain and the formation of an extratropical cyclone.
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In the morning, the level of the Guaíba in the Cais Mauá region reached 2.76 meters, just 24 centimeters from reaching the flood level. The last time the floodgate system needed to be used was in 2015, when Porto Alegre faced the second biggest flood since the great flood of 1941 and the waters reached the mark of 2.97 meters.
According to the Executive, eight of the system’s 14 gates will be closed. Another six that are already permanently closed will be reinforced with 2,000 sandbags. The team from the Municipal Department of Water and Sewage (Dmae) began the operation at 2pm through gate 3, located in front of the Court of Auditors (TCE-RS).
According to Melo, the action is preventive. “We are acting with damage mitigation and aligned with the state and other partner agencies in light of the weather forecast and warnings we have received. All of our cutting-edge teams are reinforced and mobilized to serve the population and possible occurrences,” he said.
The decision was taken due to warnings of storms in the coming days, with forecasts of up to 100 millimeters on Tuesday (26). Furthermore, on Wednesday (27), the south wind should act towards the capital, damming the water and preventing it from flowing into Lagoa dos Patos. According to forecasts by MetSul Metereologia, Tuesday’s likely torrential rains add to a short-term increase in the flow of the rivers that flow into Guaíba.
In other parts of the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Guaíba is already registering flooding. In the Arquipélago neighborhood, the city’s islands, where this morning the waters were at 2.46 meters, just 26 centimeters below the flooding level, there are dozens of homeless people. In the south zone, due to the waters, Avenida Guaíba, on the corner of Avenida Guarujá, is blocked. In some parts of the central area and nearby neighborhoods, there is water backflow through the rainwater system.
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As MetSul highlights, the work of forecasting the level of Guaíba is very difficult due to the lack of data. The state government’s measuring stick on the Jacuí River, in Triunfo, has been offline for days. The rulers in several points of the Taquari river, the second main contributor to the Guaíba, were destroyed by the catastrophic flood at the beginning of the month.
This week will have more rain and a new cyclone
After a rainy weekend in the state, with hail storms in the South region, the second was storms with winds that brought damage to municipalities in the Center and Northern Half of Rio Grande do Sul. A storm alert remains in place.
MetSul predicts that the worst of the instability this Tuesday will be more in the West, Center, South and East of Rio Grande do Sul with very heavy rain, capable of generating flooding and floods. There will be points where in less than three hours the rain can exceed 50 mm and several cities should only have volumes close to or above 100 mm with 100 mm to 150 mm in some locations.
There is also a warning of the danger of strong to severe storms this Tuesday in Rio Grande do Sul and in the south and east of Santa Catarina with the deepening of low pressure that will give rise to a cyclone in the ocean on Wednesday. The cyclone is expected to generate strong winds with gusts that will exceed 80 km/h in different locations.
Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Editing: Marcelo Ferreira