The Atacama Desert – known as the driest place on Earth – was hit with heavy thunderstorms last week, causing deadly flooding. Parts of the desert received 0.96 inches of rain last Tuesday, which is equivalent to about 14-years’ worth of rain for this part of the world. In response, the Copiapo River swelled over; this river normally does not have any water at all.
— globalfloods (@globalfloods_eu) March 26, 2015
— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) March 26, 2015
At least nine people have died as a result of the flooding, and a state of emergency was declared in Chile. Capital Weather Gang has more on what may have caused the deadly flooding in the Atacama Desert:
It seems likely that the rainfall was enhanced by the current El Nino event, which increases water temperature off the coast of Chile. “The heavy rains were from a cold front that hit the Andes Mountains,” writes Jeff Mastersat Weather Underground. “Unusually warm ocean temperatures approximately [1.8 degrees] above average off of the coast meant that high amounts of water vapor were available to fuel the storm and generate exceptionally heavy rains.”
Below is a video captured during the flooding: