RIO DE JANEIRO – A tornado battered a city in southern Brazil, killing two people, injuring 120 others and forcing more than 1,000 people from their homes, officials said Tuesday.
The National Institute of Meteorology said a supercell storm produced the tornado that struck Xanxere city in the state of Santa Catarina on Monday.
The storm damaged about 500 homes and knocked down lampposts, leaving many residents without electricity. Two people were killed, apparently inside their homes, and 120 have been taken to hospitals, including 15 who were seriously injured, said Santa Catarina's civil defense director, Luciano Peri.
The storm flipped cars and trucks and smashed homes, or left them roofless. Residents said a black cloud left many neighborhoods in complete darkness for minutes.
Tornadoes are rare in Brazil, but the region where the country meets Argentina and Uruguay is prone to supercell storms that can give birth to tornadoes because of the warm and moist air from the Amazon jungle that collides with the cold wind of the Andes. In 2009, more than 14 people were killed and dozens wounded in the wake of a tornado in the border area of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.