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Cyclone Yaku Pounds Peru, Killing Six And Making Hundreds Homeless

A rare, deadly storm slammed northwestern portions of South America for nearly a week straight, leaving at least six people dead.

A rare, deadly storm slammed northwestern portions of South America for nearly a week straight, leaving at least six people dead and prompting a state of emergency as hundreds of homes were damaged in the deluge.

A storm, known as Cyclone Yaku in South America, strengthened over the waters off the coasts of Peru and Ecuador late last week and into this week and spread heavy, flooding rain across northwestern South America for days, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tony Zartman.

Video footage showed muddy waters racing through the streets and coming up to the tire rims of vehicles.

“Major flooding has been centered over northern parts of Peru, where flash flooding and overflowing rivers have washed out streets and caused serious mudslides that buried cars and homes, resulting in tragic loss of life,” Zartman said.

People wade through water flooding the main access road from Lima to the interior of the country in the Andes, following heavy rains in Chaclacayo, east of Lima, Peru, on Mar 15, 2023. CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

A woman in Trujillo, one of the hard-hit coastal towns in northern Peru, told Reuters that she “lost everything” and had no place to sleep or sit.

Hundreds of homes and cars have been buried in mud and debris, according to Reuters.

“While the storm has now lost wind intensity and its remaining circulation has pushed farther into the interior of South America, flooding problems will continue,” Zartman said.

Most ocean basins around the world are monitored by a specific Regional Specialized Meteorology Center (RSMC). For example, the Atlantic and East Pacific basins are monitored by the National Hurricane Center. This part of the world, however, has no presiding naming agency, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Zartman noted that there are unconfirmed reports that the National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru (Senamhi) named this cyclone because of its rarity.

The region is currently in the latter part of its rainy season, which typically begins in November or December and lasts through March or April.

A view of the damage after the rains and floods caused by the direct influence of Cyclone Yaku in the Sayan district in Lima, Peru, on Mar 13, 2023. KLEBHER VASQUEZ/GETTY IMAGES

“Daily showers and thunderstorms into next week can aggravate ongoing flooding and hamper cleanup efforts,” Zartman said.

Nearly 60 people have died amid the ongoing rainy season, including the most recent deaths amid Cyclone Yaku, Reuters reported.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

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