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July 2, 2020

"Bomb Cyclone" Causes Widespread Damage in Southern Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Strong storms swept through southern Brazil on Tuesday afternoon causing widespread damage in the states of Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. The Brazilian National Weather Service is calling the storm a "Bomb Cyclone" with winds over 75 miles per hour, large hail, and heavy rains. Following the storm there are chances of widespread freezing temperatures and even a chance of snow in the higher elevations of Santa Catarina.

Widespread electrical outages are being reported across the region including the city of Curitiba, which is the capital of the state of Parana, and the Port of Paranagua, which is Brazil second largest port for the export of grains and sugar. Many structures suffered roof damage from the strong winds and large hail. Localized flooding was being reported and at least nine fatalities resulted from the storm with eight occurring in the state of Santa Catarina.

Numerous trees and posts were blown down across the region resulting in widespread electrical outages. There are widespread reports of wind and hail damage to the safrinha corn in the state of Parana. Earlier this week, the safrinha corn in Parana was 48% filling grain, 46% mature, and 5% harvested. Before the storm, the corn was rated 16% poor, 40% average, and 44% good. Technicians from the Department of Rural Economics (Deral) are in the process of evaluating the extent of the damage to the safrinha corn in Parana. The winter wheat crop in Parana was also damaged by the large hail.

Officials at the Port of Paranagua are in the process of evaluating the damage caused by the strong winds. Two shiploaders at the port were reported to have been dislodged, there was damage to some of the conveyors, and electricity to the port was disrupted. Port officials reported that generators were being used to operating the balances so trucks could be unloaded.

By late Wednesday afternoon, the electricity to the port had been reestablished and loading operations were slowly returning. Each of the three berths in the Export Corridor has two shiploaders and in the berths where the two shiploaders had been damaged (berths 204 and 214) the undamaged shiploader was returned to operation.

The storm occurred at a very inopportune time as Brazil struggles to contain an expanding Corvid-19 pandemic and the severe economic disruption caused by the pandemic.

Brazil has exported record amounts of soybeans for four consecutive months, but soybean exports are starting to decline as soybean stocks tighten. Brazilian farmers are in the process of harvesting their safrinha corn and corn exports will now start to pick up as the soybean exports wind down.