Cyclone forces Challenge Florianópolis cancellation

Shortly after a subtropical cyclone with maximum winds above 70 miles per hour hit the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina at 4:40 AM Sunday, race officials canceled the half-distance Challenge Florianópolis.

“In a meeting and in a joint decision with public authorities, professional athletes, amateurs and coordinators of Sports Consultancies, the Challenge Florianópolis was canceled,” read an official statement by race organizers and public officials.

According to the meteorological station of the Hercilio Luz International Airport in Florianópolis, there was a 6.3 inches rainfall in a 24-hour period around the cyclone. According to area newspaper Diário Catarinense, “The phenomenon began to take shape Saturday night and in the early hours of [Sunday and] caused houses smashing, falling trees, landslides, in addition to having left 260 thousand homes without electricity, most in the Capital.”

According to Brazilian meteorologist Erikson de Oliveira, cyclones are common throughout the year on the coast of Santa Catarina, but most occur off the coast and winds are not as strong. In this case, explained Oliveira, the cyclone peaked in intensity when it was on land.

By comparison, in 2004 Hurricane Catarina hit the area with winds that reached 110 miles per hour and three people died and one million residents were affected.

A year ago, the half distance Challenge Florianópolis was held without incident and was won by Brazilians Marcus Fernandes and Carolina Furriela.