A homeless man who slept in an vent inside a Guadalajara city center traffic tunnel drowned during a fierce afternoon storm Monday.
The man, who has not been identified, was unable to extract himself from the vent as the water level in the Avenida Hidalgo tunnel reached more than a meter high.
The tunnel runs for almost a kilometer under the centro historico and is one of the busiest in the metropolitan area.
Municipal authorities said they have warned homeless persons on multiple occasions about the dangers of sleeping in the vents, especially during the rainy season.
Monday’s storm was one of the most violent of the temporada de lluvias so far, and caused damage in many neighborhoods. The winds uprooted around 50 trees, authorities reported, while nearly 120 properties were flooded out.
In addition, the Tren Ligero (subway) station at the San Juan de Dios market became inundated, prompting the suspension of the service. Videos posted on social media showed subway users frantically running up the stairs of the underground station as water gushed in. The level reached between two and four meters in some sections of the tunnel, Transportation Secretary Diego Monraz said on Tuesday. Describing the flooding of the station as “atypical,” he said it was fortunate no one was injured and that the service’s electrical and mechanical systems were unaffected.
Monraz speculated that “public works that might modify the natural flow of water runoff” played a key role in the flooding. Jalisco Civil Protection Director Víctor Hugo Roldán said the buildup of garbage blocking storm drains on Avenida Juarez/Javier Mina was the main reason for the flooding around the market area.
The Macrobus service along the Calzada Independencia was suspended for several hours during the storm. Other badly affected areas included the Parque Morelos and the underground parking lot of the new Corona Market.
Heavy hailstorms bombarded several city zones, although none were as serious as the one that left 12 neighborhoods of Tlaquepaque and Guadalajara caked in ice on Sunday, July 7.
Traffic officers helped a woman in labor give birth in her car after it became trapped by flooding at the Juarez/Ocampo intersection.