Electrical storm creates widespread chaos in Bogotá and more expected

A powerful electrical storm hurled down on the Colombian capital Tuesday evening causing widespread flooding, black-outs and cancellation of flights at El Dorado airport.

Around 4:00 p.m with the first rainfall, major roads such as the Primero de Mayo, Carrera Séptima and Carerra 30 became flooded causing delays to the city’s public transport system TransMilenio and resulting in generalized traffic chaos as cars were stranded due to rising water levels and blocked sewers.

As the storm intensified emergency crews were dispatched to Chapinero and Suba where several fallen trees caused damage to sidewalks and electricity poles. The main North-South highway, Auto Norte, collapsed during the rush hour between Calles 153 and 222. Even though the four hour long storm dissipated around 8:00 pm, the Auto Norte remained flooded Wednesday morning affecting the flow of traffic.

The country’s meteorological agency, IDEAM, has sent out an alert of possible mudslides for neighbourhoods along the capital’s eastern forested corridor, Cerros Orientales. The agency expects that the low pressure system hanging over Bogotá could generate more storms in the upcoming days.

Given the weather warnings give yourself plenty of time to get to the El Dorado airport and, avoid if possible, scheduling appointments during the late afternoon when electrical storms are most likely to strike. As the city’s Circunvalar is prone to falling trees given its proximity to the Cerros look for alternate routes. Avoid as much as possible walking in open spaces.

The rash of electrical storms predicts a very wet winter season for the Colombian capital, so plan your agenda accordingly and always carry an umbrella.