MONTEVIDEO.- The passage of a extratropical cyclone – and that too on the Argentinian coast on alert– left at least one dead and several injured in Uruguay since yesterday afternoon. The winds reached nearly 100 kilometers per hour in the Punta del Este region and the department of Rocha.
A 23-year-old man died yesterday after a tree fell on his house in Paso de la Arena yesterday. In addition, there was evacuation, blasting of objects and raising of roofs in the south-east of the country according to the results of the first hours of the weather alert reported by the authorities.
According to the Interior Ministry, the metropolitan area recorded the highest number of attendances. A woman and three minors had to be evacuated after the roof of their house in Parque del Plata (Canelones) was blown off.
Yesterday around 6:00 p.m., in Mario Pérez street, at the corner of Lomas de Zamora, in Paso de la Arena (Montevideo) a palm tree fell on a house. One person managed to escape to call for help. Medical assistance arrived at the scene and helped another young man who was trapped but later found his death.
Additionally, in the past few hours, there have been seven inspections; five assists for tree cuts; four helpers to lift roofs and an intervention to blow up loose objects. Inside, four assists were made at La Paloma (Rocha) due to falling trees.
The cyclone can cause coastal flooding, the fall of trees and columns of power lines, the explosion of light roofs, strong waves and storm surges (ocean advancing on coastal cities), as well as damage to boats, among others, warned Sergio Rico. , Director of the National Emergency System.
The National Institute of Meteorology (Inumet) issued a yellow alert and two orange alerts on Tuesday, which are divided by the intensity of the winds caused by the approach of a subtropical cyclone. Alerts were updated at 6:30 p.m. and will be updated at midnight. Winds are expected to ease by tomorrow.
Inumet reported that, Until 12 noon, the strongest gusts of wind occurred in the south-east of the country. In Eastern Point winds were recorded at 98 km/h and a thick sea foam spread through the streets surrounding the coast.
In addition, there were maximums of 87 Km/h in Atlántida; 81 in Rocha; 80 km/h in San Jose. At Laguna del Sauce, gusts of 78 km/h were recorded; 76 in Cologne; 74 in Montevideo, Lavalleja and Florida and 72 Km/h in La Paloma (Rocha).
“A lot of people have told us why not the red level… for Montevideo we expect wind bands between 80 and 100 km/h, in the past we had much more,” he said in a dialogue with Informal Breakfasts on Channel 12, and said recalled that during the great storm of August 24, 2005, they registered wind gust records 190 km/h. “For us, bursts of 100 to 130 are included in an orange level”, he underlined, while ensuring that, as these are not linear calculations, the alert could change over time. daytime.
Sergio Rico, director of the National Emergency System, said in the first morning of El Espectador that “yesterday there was the possibility” of a red alert, but “for the moment there is no indication that ‘it will go on red alert’. In any case, he clarified: “We all know that weather conditions sometimes have variables that we cannot control and which may or may not occur. For the moment we continue with an orange alert and with the forecast that the winds will increase their speeds around noon and Towards the afternoon, which will be the worst moment of this orange alert, if we put an hour between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.”.
The national emergency system had at least 200 places available for evacuees in Maldonado and Rocha, the UTE put all its crews on alert due to the fall of cables, the Minister of Defense contacted the commanders to activate the emergency plan and the Mides intensified the search for homeless people so that they do not spend the night outside. Face-to-face classes have also been suspended in the educational centers of Rocha and Maldonado.
The cyclone, called Yakecan by meteorologists – “the sound of the sky” in Tupi-Guarani – hit Punta del Este with particular force. In this seaside resort, wind gusts of up to 98 km / h produced waves of several meters that invaded the coastal avenue and left cars stranded, according to videos from Twitter users. Sinae, Sergio Rico, asked to limit the mobilizations and “not to leave the house”, while the municipality of Maldonado called on the population to “extreme caution in the face of the unfavorable weather situation”.
Contrary to what happens with a tornado or a hailstorm, whose formation is sometimes very rapid and whose extension is sometimes a few meters, cyclones are systems that last a few days and extend over thousands of kilometers (the one hitting Uruguay is now over 2000 kilometres). This makes it possible to know with some precision the degree of affectation and its trajectory.
Because the cyclone is an atmospheric system in which the wind circulates in a similar way to a spiral and in the center of which reigns a very low pressure. In the case of the southern hemisphere, this rotation is clockwise (in the northern hemisphere, it is the reverse). These winds, several tens of kilometers per hour, are fed by what is happening in the height of the atmosphere (about ten kilometers above sea level). At this height flies a transatlantic airliner.
Uruguay is in a zone of cyclogenesis, explains Natalia Gil, a graduate in atmospheric sciences, who obtained a thesis in which she studied the activity of cyclones in the south-east of South America. This makes frequent formation of extratropical cyclones that cause the classic strong storms that are more typical in winter. So typical that, according to Gil’s study, between 1995 and 2014 there were an average of 13 cyclones per year in the area from June to September. It includes, for example, the storm of August 23 and 24, 2005 in which ten people died. In each of these 20 years, there have never been less than five cyclones and never exceeded 24 per winter season. But Gil found that, for reasons still not entirely clear, each year, the number of such weather events has increased by 0.4.
The cyclone currently affecting Uruguay is a little different. “In this atypical case, it moves towards the west because in height there are conditions different from those usual which make that the low pressure system moves towards the west and remains in the region“, explains Marcelo Barreiro, professor of atmospheric sciences, at El País. “This allows the cyclone to ‘feel’ the warm waters of the current Brazil and transition into a subtropical cyclone. Warmer water releases more energy that powers the cyclone, which could make it more intense. In the most extreme case, as in the warmer waters of the Caribbean, this energy is such that the wind increases its speed and becomes a hurricane. Uruguay is not a hurricane zone. But it’s on one of the warmest waters (about two degrees in recent decades), which is why some extratropical cyclones can turn into subtropical cyclones.