Water rushing out of house

Torrential rains doused Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday (April 9), killing at least three people and sowing chaos in Brazil's second largest city, which declared a state of emergency after a storm the mayor described as "absolutely abnormal".

The rains began on  Monday evening and had not let up by midday Tuesday, with a heavy downpour forecast through the end of the day. Some parts of the city got more than 21 cm (8 inches of rain within four hours), according to the mayor's office. That is three times the monthly average rainfall for April.

Videos on local news showed normally calm residential streets turned into raging torrents that dragged people and cars.

Emergency services went into action across the city to rescue people trapped in cars and out on the streets. TV images on Tuesday showed divers examining a car submerged in a flooded underpass.

The storm was the second major one to batter Rio in two months. A violent tempest that hit the city in February killed at least seven people.