Natal on flood alert prior to U.S. opener
The Brazilian city in which the U.S. play Ghana in their World Cup opener on Monday is on high alert after 36 hours of nonstop rain sparked flooding and landslides in some districts.
But the sun broke through the clouds on Sunday, prompting this tweet from U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann:
For the first time in Natal, we are seeing sunshine !! Looking forward to today's official training in the amazing stadium here. #1N1T- Jürgen Klinsmann (@J_Klinsmann) June 15, 2014
Monitors said more than 8.7 inches of rain had fallen in Natal -- well over half the average 13.8-inch total for the month of June -- ahead of the match, due to be attended by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
The sudden and extreme weather conditions led Mayor Carlos Eduardo to impose the state of alert, and local authorities have evacuated around 50 homes.
Power to some areas of the city has been cut off as a precautionary measure, but Christiano Couceiro, a spokesman for the fire department, said: "Our teams are alert and ready to avoid accidents and to not have the city come to a stop due to this."
A statement to residents said "the key words here are caution and solidarity" and that "the best thing to do is wait -- and wait in a safe place."
Mexico played Cameroon in Natal on Friday, winning 1-0 in heavy rain.