Torrential rain inundated southeastern Brazil in early January 2012, causing severe damage in multiple states. The floods forced thousands from their homes, damaged roads and homes, and broke through a levee in northern Rio de Janeiro State, according to news reports.

This image shows regional rainfall, as observed by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), from December 30, 2011, to January 6, 2012. Rainfall amounts are color coded, with the lowest amounts in blue and the highest amounts in red and purple. A band of heavy precipitation extends roughly northwest-southeast. Some of the heaviest rainfall occurs north of Rio de Janeiro, capital city of the state of the same name.

image and article courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory