SAO PAULO (NEWSnet/AP) — Heavy rain and flooding in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state has killed 37 people, while another 74 are missing.

According to Brazil’s Geological Survey, the floods exceeded the damage caused by a 1941 deluge. In some cities, water levels are at their highest since records began nearly 150 years ago, the agency said.

On Thursday, a dam at a hydroelectric power plant between the towns of Bento Goncalves and Cotipora collapsed and towns in the Taquari River valley, including Lajeado and Estrela, were overtaken by water.

In the city of Feliz, 80 kilometers from the capital, Porto Alegre, a hugely swollen river has swept away a bridge connecting the city to Linha Nova.

Officials reported interruptions in electricity, telephone, internet and water services across the state. According to civil protection, more than 23,000 people had to leave their homes.

The downpour started Monday and is expected to continue at least through Saturday, said Marcelo Seluchi, chief meteorologist at the National Center for Monitoring and Alerts of Natural Disasters.

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