In Brazil’s So Paulo state, officials report that landslides and flooding have killed at least 36 people.
Rescue workers say they hope to pull some of the people trapped in flooded homes out of the mud alive even though there are dozens of people missing and an expected increase in the number of fatalities.
Video displayed submerged neighborhoods, flooded highways, and debris left behind after homes were swept away.
In a number of cities, the carnival has been canceled.
In the coastal town of So Sebastio, 627mm of rain fell in a single day, more than double the monthly average.
Felipe August, the mayor of the town, described the situation as chaotic: “The extent of the damage is still unknown to us. We’re working to save the people.”
Mr. Augusto continued, stating that the situation was still “extremely critical,” saying that about 50 houses had collapsed and been washed away.
At least 35 fatalities were reported by the state government in So Sebastio, and a seven-year-old girl was killed in Ubatuba, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the northeast, when a two-ton boulder struck her home.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated and displaced.
Sadly, there will be a lot more fatalities, a civil defense official told the newspaper Folha de So Paulo.
State Governor Tarcsio de Freitas declared that he had made funding for disaster relief totaling $1.5 million (£1.2 million) available.
Carnival activities were postponed along parts of the coastline, a popular vacation spot for wealthy travelers trying to avoid the massive street festivals in the major cities.
In the lead-up to the Christian festival of Lent, the festival typically lasts for five days, and the vibrant celebrations are emblematic of Brazil.
Santos, the biggest port in Latin America, was also closed due to winds that were over 55 km/h (34 mph) and waves that were over 1 m high, according to local media.
The affected areas will be visited later on Monday by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was spending the weekend of the carnival in the state of Bahia in the northeast.
He expressed his condolences to those who had lost loved ones in a tweet and pledged to coordinate with law enforcement to send out medical teams and rescue crews.
In his letter, President Lula promised to “bring all levels of government together and, with the solidarity of society, treat the wounded, look for the missing, restore highways, power connections, and telecommunications in the area.”
Threatening to worsen the situation for rescue teams, more heavy rain is predicted in the area.
As the effects of climate change set in, extreme weather phenomena like the floods are anticipated to become more frequent.
More than 230 people were killed by torrential rain in the southeast city of Petropolis last year.