A sudden and abnormal warming of Pacific waters off Peru has unleashed the deadliest downpours in decades, with landslides and raging rivers sweeping away people, clogging highways and destroying crops in a potential sign of a global El Nino pattern this year.
At least 67 people have died and more than 70,000 have become homeless as Peru’s rainy season has delivered 10 times as much rainfall than usual, authorities said Friday.
About half of Peru has been declared in emergency to expedite resources to the hardest hit areas, mostly in the north where rainfall has broken records in several districts, said Prime Minister Fernando Zavala.
Peru is bracing itself for another month of flooding.
A local El Nino phenomenon, the warming of surface sea temperatures in the Pacific, will likely continue along Peru’s northern coast at least through April, said Dimitri Gutierrez, a scientist with Peru’s El Nino committee.
Local El Ninos in Peru tend to be followed by the global El Nino phenomenon, which can trigger flooding and droughts in different countries, said Gutierrez.
The U.S. weather agency has put the chances of an El Nino developing in the…