Heavy rain turned streets in Guanajuato into raging rivers yesterday after a dam in the city burst its banks.
The floodwaters brought traffic to a standstill in the state capital and inundated businesses in the historic center and the Sangre de Cristo district as well as at the IMSS medical clinic in El Cantador.
A torrential downpour began at 5:30pm and didn’t start to ease off until 7:00pm, causing the Presa de la Olla dam to overflow and fill the surrounding streets with water.
The dam is located about four kilometers southeast of downtown Guadalajara and 500 meters from the state government building.
Among the thoroughfares affected were Subterránea Street, which runs beneath the city’s downtown, and Benito Juárez Avenue. Both roads — and others — were shut off completely to traffic and pedestrians for more than two hours.
In several videos that circulated on social media, partially submerged vehicles can be seen on city streets. The road leading to the swollen dam, Paseo de la Presa, was also flooded.
Guanajuato Mayor Édgar Castro Cerillo convened a meeting last night with Civil Protection authorities to assess the impact of the flooding and ordered the dam’s floodgates to be left open to allow the large quantities of excess water to flow to the Guanajuato river.
“A large amount of water fell in a very short time . . . the rain was so quick that it caused flooding and the overflowing of the dam,” the mayor commented.
However, Castro explained that “Guanajuato is not in a state of maximum alert, we’re not in an emergency” although he added that all of the city’s relevant authorities and security forces were on the ground and ready to respond to any situation.
There were no reports of injuries or loss of life.
The mayor also said that city personnel were working to unblock rubbish-clogged drains that were exacerbating the flooding.
By 8:30pm the floodwaters had begun to recede and Castro said that no one remained in danger.
In a preliminary report, Civil Protection authorities said that torrents of water “ran with a lot of fury” through the streets, while the city’s water utility said that all of the city’s reservoirs were at elevated capacity levels.