Chiclayo: Twenty-four hours of rain

February 12th, 2010

Tom Filipowicz in Chiclayo shows us the impact recent heavy rains have had on the normally dry northern desert city.

Article brought to you by Mochica Hostess Tours

In many parts of the world rain for that length of time is not unusual, but in Chiclayo it causes problems. The news broadcast out of Lima said we officially got 20 liters per square meter. I have no idea how that measurement can be of use to anyone. No one I’ve talked with so far can visualize it, except to say it’s a lot. Mathematically it works out to 2cm or .79 inches. That may not sound like much until you realize Chiclayo’s entire rainfall for an average year is .95 inches.

The rain began during the parade Saturday, mentioned in the previous entry. It continued through the night fairly heavy at times and finally ended at about 1:00PM Sunday. There was wide-spread flooding in the streets…in some areas the water reached inside houses and businesses. Many moto operators opted not to work, and those that did raised their prices by 150%. Incidentally while trying to find a good camera angle for this photo I inadvertently stepped off the curb and found myself ankle deep in water. Does that make me a flood victim?

Rain in any appreciable amount is always a problem for coastal cities like Chiclayo. It happen so infrequently that city infrastructure planning disregards it as do architects designing/building businesses and houses. As a result flooding occurs and water entering buildings through doors or skylights is common. We have two skylights in our apartment and both leaked. Many people were seen on their roofs throwing water by the bucket onto the streets.

Another problem is walking during and immediately after rain. Water mixes with the ever present dust to form a slippery paste. In the case of a smooth side walk of either concrete or tile its necessary to ‘shuffle’, or risk finding yourself suddenly on your back looking at the sky.

But the rain is over, cleanup is well underway and soon everything will be back to normal. Motos and taxies will be out in full force charging normal fares. Mosquitoes and other insects, which appear with the rain as if by magic will make their presence felt over the next several days before disappearing to wherever it is they go when it isn’t raining. Such is life in a desert.

If you’d like to experience events like this and get a taste of real daily life in northern provincial Peru, speak to Tom & Maribel via Mochica Hostess Tours

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