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Copyright Ann Aubrey Hanson

Summer afternoons in Sao Paulo are a symphony of color, lighting, wind, and sound. Though the days are hot and sunny, by 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the clouds begin to build on the horizon, and the skies darken, heralding the onset of the afternoon rains.

Sometimes, the rains are a simple straight-downpour, while at other times, they are torrential, leaving chaos in their wake. Last week, one afternoon storm downed 196 signal lights and blew over 42 trees. The result: a 250-mile-long traffic jam throughout the city that lasted well into the night.

Along one of the major roads into town, a mudslide killed one female motorist and closed the road for hours. Apparently, there was also a great deal of flooding in parts of the city, as the news showed images of cars waist-high in flooded streets, and people wading across sidewalks to reach buses. We saw ourselves how entire streets and sidewalks become awash within minutes of a storm hitting. Such volume! I’ve rarely seen the like.

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Copyright Reuters
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Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters

What’s truly remarkable is the number of lightning flashes we’ve seen this summer. I truly believe what they say, that in Sao Paulo there are 10,000 flashes of lightning every summer. Some are jagged bolts that pulse two or three times before they disappear, while others are sheets that light the entire sky. Peppered among the bolts and sheets are green flashes, caused as more transformers on the horizon surge and explode.

Here on the 24th floor, the only impact for me is a spectacular son-et-lumiere show. Here are a few photos I’ve taken in the past week. Just a taste of the experience. (Oh, and yes, I do get some work done in the afternoons~)