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Sports News of Monday, 16 June 2014

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[Video] Landslides, Heavy Rain, Flooding Threaten Ghana-US Match

Torrential rains have plagued the site of the opener, Natal—a coastal city of nearly 1 million people in northeastern Brazil—for three days, inundating streets, blocking off roads and triggering landslides that destroyed or damaged 20 to 40 homes and forced the evacuations of at least 50 people, according to local media. In response, the city declared a state of emergency Sunday, mobilizing emergency responders to deal with impacts from the heavy rain.

At least four other structures are threatening collapse at the site of the landslide. A retaining wall under pressure from the rain also collapsed in the city, enveloping six homes in earth, G1 reports. Multiple ponds and lakes are well past capacity and continue to spill over into the streets.

Nearly 9 inches of rain fell in Natal from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday alone, according to INMET, Brazil's governmental meteorological department. But more than 13 inches are said to have fallen since the rain began Friday, first shutting down a FIFA-sanctioned fan fest at Fortress Beach in Natal, and then soaking the city's opening match between Mexico and Cameroon, NBC Sports

The area has experience more rain in recent days than they usually see for the entire month of June, even though June is typically the city's wettest month.

Unfortunately for the U.S. squad, the rain will only persist heading into Monday night's game at 6 p.m. EDT against Ghana, according to meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

"We are looking at off and on showers today and tomorrow, including at kickoff time," said Wiltgen. "Along with the rain, the two teams will see high temperatures from 81 to 84 degrees, and lows near 72."

Even so, more rain could mean more landslides, flooding and other dangerous conditions in the area that could jeopardize player and fan safety, something local officials say they're ready to deal with.

“Our teams are alert and ready to avoid accidents and to not have the city come to a stop due to this,” Christiano Couceiro, a spokesperson for the local fire department, told USA Today.