Torrential Rain Brings Floods and Landslides to South America

Torrential Rain Brings Floods and Landslides to South America
  • Credit:

    Image produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC).

By mid January 2007, at least 50 people had been killed in southeastern Brazil since the beginning of the year due to flooding and landslides brought on by torrential rains. The hardest hit areas were the coastal state of Rio de Janeiro and mountainous Minas Gerais, north of Rio de Janeiro. The heavy rainfall between January 1 and January 9, 2007, is illustrated in this image, made from the near-real time, Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Based in part on data collected by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, the MPA monitors rainfall over the global tropics. In this image, the highest rainfall totals for the period (shown in red) are between 200 and 300 millimeters (8 to 10 inches). A strip of red extends inland from along the coast just north of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The heavy downpours and thunderstorms were triggered by a frontal boundary,where two air masses meet up, that stalled over the area. The boundary provided the focus for tropical moisture streaming down from the north.

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency, JAXA.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    January 9, 2007
  • Visualization Date:

    January 11, 2007
  • Sensor(s):



NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration