As of Tuesday, March 3, at least 17 people have died in southeastern Brazil due to heavy rains that started in Rio de Janeiro state on Saturday, February 29. Authorities confirmed that 12 people died in São Paulo state on Tuesday, while at least five people perished in Rio de Janeiro between Sunday, March 1, and Monday, March 2. An additional 46 people remain missing. The ongoing downpour has caused significant infrastructural damage across the region, collapsing homes and sweeping away cars. Several highways remain impassable due to felled trees and debris, including highways linking Santos to São Paulo. Civil defense personnel have been deployed to the region to assist residents impacted by the flooding and landslides.
Further rainfall is forecast for Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo over the coming days. Weather officials have issued their highest warnings through Tuesday, March 3, for parts of the region. Additional flooding and transportation and business disruptions are possible over the coming hours and days.
Individuals in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo states are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid areas directly hit by flooding, anticipate transportation and commercial disruptions, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded. Be aware that the risk of contracting water- and mosquito-borne diseases tends to rise after periods of heavy rainfall.