Saturday, January 30, 2016

Not Your Typical Saturday Morning

Chiclayanos woke up this morning to flooded streets. That’s not to say they were surprised…the rain had started shortly before midnight and showed every indication of being a serious rainfall. We average about ¼ cup of rain all year. We got more than that last night. The topic of discussion for the next few days will be whether or not this is the beginning of El Niño.  

Chiclayo and most Peruvian cities do not have the infrastructure to handle lots of rain. We lack storm sewers and road engineering that would aid in proper drainage. As a result we’ll have some streets with mini lakes until the sun and evaporation dries them…in about 3 or 4 days.

It was still raining when this electrical fire broke out. It began with what sounded like a very loud explosion, and for the next 30 minutes continued to ‘explode’ with brilliant flashes of light and showers of huge sparks cascading to the ground. Then, either because power was deliberately turned off or a short occurred the fireworks stopped. As of this writing there are still no repair crews.
When the excitement died down and the rain tailed off it was time to begin cleanup. Chiclayo roofs are flat. Most of them have no mechanism for drainage and those that do usually are plugged up and don’t work. And so all over Chiclayo this morning bucket brigades will be the major occupation.

When the roofs have been attended to the streets come next. These city workers and community minded neighbors (there are two nurses, a doctor and engineer in this photo) will be kept busy today. Home owners will also be sweeping in front of their houses. There is no place for them to sweep the water to, but by spreading it out it will dry faster. By the way, the site of the electrical fire was above the tree (and notice a repair crew has just shown up).

A rain of this magnitude is a two-sided coin for moto and taxi drivers. More passengers are available because people fear walking on the slippery and muddy sidewalks, but the vehicles will need cleaning throughout the day.

We’re fortunate. We have power while many of our neighbors do not. The drain pipes on our roof did their job, so I am free to sit at the window with a cup of coffee and take photos of my fellow Chiclayanos at work.


  1. Thanks for the pictures and the updates on the rain. Please keep us updated on El Nino.
    Thanks Jim

    1. My pleasure Jim, but I’m hoping there won’t be an El Niño to write about.

  2. "do not have the infrastructure to handle lots of rain. We lack storm sewers and road engineering that would aid in proper drainage"

    You just described South Tampa, Fl.
    There's a reason people that live there have canoes. The place floods after a normal summer thunderstorm turning streets into rivers.
    Hate to see what a Cat 5 hurricane roaring into the mouth of Tampa Bay would do especially during high tide.
    So far Florida hasn't felt the brunt of El Niño except for an isolated tornado a couple of weeks ago and more rain in Jan. than usual.
    Good luck and stay safe.