The heavy rainfall that battered Chile's usually arid north this week happened because of climate change, a senior meteorologist said, as the region gradually returns to normal after rivers broke banks and villages were cut off.End of Excerpt
"For Chile, this particular system can only be possible in an environment of a changed climate," Deputy Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization Jeremiah Lengoasa told Reuters on a visit to Santiago on Friday.
The intense rainfall that began Tuesday in an area that is home to the Atacama, the world's driest desert, had resulted in nine deaths by Friday, with 19 people still missing, nearly 6,000 people in temporary housing and some roads cut off, the government's emergency office Onemi said.
Under a more familiar beating sun, people began to trickle back to debris-strewn villages and smashed houses. A curfew is in place in the Atacama region tonight, Onemi said, while operations at some mines in the top copper producer are still on hold.
Local media reported that one of those who lost his home was Victor Zamora, one of the 33 miners whose dramatic rescue from a mine in nearby Copiapo in 2010 attracted global attention.
While the worst seems to be over, Chile can expect to see more of this kind of event in the future, Lengoasa said.
63.5°F in Antarctica: Possible Continental Record; 14 Years of Rain in 1 Day in Chile
Extremely Rare Rains Floods Northern Chile, Kills Two
At least two people are dead after extremely rare rain triggered significant flooding in one of the driest places in the world, northern Chile.From 2011:
Rainfall is extremely hard to come by in northern Chile. In Antofagasta, virtually no rain falls this time of year and the port city averages just 1.7 mm (0.07 of an inch) annually.
However, Wednesday was anything but normal across northern Chile as a storm system tracked unusually far to the north and unleashed torrential rain.
A total of 24.4 mm (0.88 of an inch) poured down in the 24 hours, ending Thursday morning. Photos and videos from the region show that runoff from the rain inundated streets in Antofagasta, while the Copiapo River to the south was brought out of its banks.
Thousands are without electricity and drinking water.
Rare Snow In Atacama Desert
Why is it that we see the effects of anthropogenic climate change getting worse, yet the actions still do not match the urgency?
Climate Extremes 2011-Part Three
Part of my video series from 2011. See 1:05 into video. Some of us have been reporting on this for a while. Unfortunate we are not heard.