SAO PAULO, July 1 (Xinhua) — A rare bomb cyclone lashed southern Brazil, leaving at least 10 people dead and forcing more than 1,000 people to evacuate their homes, local Civil Defense authorities said on Wednesday.
Nine of the deaths were reported in the state of Santa Catarina, where one person has also been reported missing. The tenth victim was in southernmost Rio Grande do Sul state bordering on neighboring Argentina and Uruguay.
An atypical climate event for the region, meteorologists said the “extratropical bomb cyclone,” or rapidly developing storm, originated in the Atlantic Ocean and whipped southern Brazil with winds of up to 110 kilometers per hour.
The cyclone knocked out power to at least 48 towns, some 686,000 homes, in Santa Catarina.
Florianopolis, the capital of Santa Catarina, and its metropolitan region were the hardest hit, registering six deaths due to landslides and mudslides.
“We have never seen anything like it. We always believed we were far from the kind of phenomena we were used to seeing on television of the Caribbean,” a resident of Ilhota, a community in greater Florianopolis, told local media.
Strong winds and heavy rains ripped away tile roofs and sheet roofing, and uprooted electricity poles.
Winds of up to 80 kilometers per hour reached as far as the southeast states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the meteorological service reported.
On the coast of Sao Paulo, damage to a marina caused eight boats to sink.
In Curitiba, Parana state, cellphone video captured rooftops blown away by winds of over 100 kilometers per hour.
The governments of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parana issued flood warnings and evacuated more than 1,000 people.