A freak weather system that hit the north coast of Majorca last week has left three dead and the Balearic island state shattered
A freak weather system that hit the north coast of Majorca last week has left the Balearic island state shattered, say local residents. The storm, which was widely acknowledged as the worst to hit Balearic waters for many years, first descended on the north west tip of the island on Friday 9th November. The tempest spread along the coast, winds recorded at 130 kilometres per hour wrecking all in their path, decimating the north coast port towns of Alcudia and Pollensa.
Despite advanced warnings of up to a week from Majorca’s Palma-based Meterologico Instituto that the weather would be rough, Majorca was simply not prepared for this. Humphrey Carter, editor of the Majorca Daily Bulletin, says the exceptional weather was actually formed by two separate storms: The first storm hit the northwest coast on Friday (9th) and Saturday, dying down by Monday. Then something collided with a low pressure system and it picked up again, smashing that part of the island to pieces from Wednesday to last Saturday.
The islands had a double dose and it’s been horrific for those who live in the north. The second wave of gales brought with them some of the heaviest rainfall in Majorca’s history, at one stage dropping some 1,000 litres of water per square metre per hour.
Having been officially recognised as a disaster zone by the Spanish central government in Madrid, the official alert on the Balearic island was reduced on Sunday from Saturday morning’s Level One, to Level Zero. But the damage has been done; the total cost of the storm is expected to be in excess of 25,000 million pesetas, nearly £10 million.
Port Fairline’s Russell Curry reported the scale of the event, which he described as “a true disaster. We are currently removing seaweed from our flybridge overhangs. Our staff has multiplied fivefold since last week, just to handle the clean up job. In Puerto Boniare, eight boats that were laid up on the hard of the seawall were blown into the sea and 22 boats in total sank. I’ve been here for nine years and never seen anything like it.”
There was little respite inland. The island’s main potato farm at Sa Pobla has been ruined, the island has lost 40 per cent of the olive crop over the past week and thousands of tourists, mostly pensioners, have cancelled day trips and excursions. The storm has ruined the plans and, in some cases, lives of sailors and locals alike. Fairline is currently re-housing a German man whose boat was up on the hard and was totally wrecked and a couple in a sailing catamaran were torn from their moorings in Puerto de Alcudia, blown four miles down the coast and unceremoniously beached. Thankfully they were unharmed.
But the storm has claimed three lives: a taxi driver whose car was caught under a falling tree, a cyclist, and an electrical engineer who was working to re-connect an area that had been cut off. All lost their lives to the freak storm.
“The emergency services may be off full alert,” said Fairline’s Russell Curry, “but we’ve gone down to Code Red from Code bloody Awful.” Port Fairline Majorca say they are reassuring their Majorca-based customers that their boats will be back on the water come the spring. Good luck Fairline.
Is this a late throwback from El Nino, a foreseeable consequence of global warming or just a 100-year meterological anomaly? If you have reports of any freakish weather in the Med, please contact MBY at firstname.lastname@example.org