Flooding rains continue on the coast as El Niño intensifies seasonal downpours

Mar 20, 2019

Torrential rains continue to inundate Ecuador’s coastal provinces. On Tuesday, Guayas, Santa Elena and  El Oro Provinces reported widespread flooding just days after the northern coastal provinces of Manabi and Esmeraldas grappled with high water.

Residents of Guayas Province waded through knee-deep water on Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, the National Risk Management office raised its risk alert from yellow to orange for the entire coast and said more flooding is expected. “Communities in the affected areas should update their evacuation and response plans in preparation for the continuation of heavy rainfall.”

Flooding on Monday and Tuesday was most intense in Guayas and El Oro provinces, with local authorities reporting that hundreds of residents have been forced from their homes. In Guayaquil, dozens of homes have been ordered abandoned due to flooding and the water is still rising in some areas.

Ecuador’s National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (Inamhi) sees no end in sight for the rainfall. On Monday, meteorologists said that the intensifying El Niño in the Pacific Ocean is playing a role in the high rainfall totals but said it is difficult to separate the effects of the traditional rainy season from the weather phenomenon.

“We expect heavy rainfall this time of year and even without El Niño flooding occurs,” Inamhi said in statement. “El Niño has recently been upgraded from minimal to moderate status by some weather agencies and it is obvious that it is playing a role in current conditions.”

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