Heat and spotty thunderstorms threaten to slow rescue and cleanup crews in the wake of Thursday's deadly mine dam bursts in eastern Brazil.
The Associated Press reports that two dams gave way at an iron ore mining operation near the city of Mariana Thursday afternoon, sending a mix of water and ore mining residue downhill into the small village of Bento Rodrigues. Mariana is located about 300 km (185 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro.
Weather observations Thursday afternoon at nearby Belo Horizonte indicate sunny conditions. Satellite images indicate that the majority of the showers and thunderstorms that developed on Thursday occurred south of Bento Rodrigues, in the southeastern Minas Gerais state and near the border of Rio de Janeiro state.
"There was no unusual weather in the area on Thursday," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani.
The resultant mudslide caked the area downstream of the dam in a clay-red mud with cars tossed on their sides and buildings blanketed, stated the Associated Press. Reuters reports that roads and cellular towers have been knocked out.
The Associated Press states that one person was killed with 13 people still missing, a number that officials said could rise.
In addition to the difficulty of working in the mud, rescue and cleanup crews will face heat and spotty thunderstorms into this weekend.
"The [Bento Rodrigues] area will be on the northern edge of daily showers and thunderstorms with a front to the south," stated Sagliani. "There will be more sunshine than clouds each day with a 40 to 50 percent chance of a shower or thunderstorm."
The thunderstorm activity will be most numerous in the afternoon and threatens to force crews indoors. As soon as thunder is heard, the danger of being struck by lightning is present.
Helping to fuel the thunderstorms will be the heat continuing to bake Minas Gerais, sending temperatures well above normal.
"The whole area is in the midst of a heat wave," said Sagliani.
Friday marked the fourth consecutive day of temperatures at Belo Horizonte soaring past 32 C (90 F), when a high of 28 C (83 F) is more common.
Spotty showers and thunderstorms will provide brief, but not prolonged cooling.
The heat is expected to persist into early next week, when the shower and thunderstorm activity will lessen around Bento Rodrigues.