Sunny Spain? Think again…

Over the last fortnight, Mediterranean Spain and the Canary Islands have collectively experienced some of the worst weather since records began

For those considering that a good antidote to the dismal British winter might be the sunny olive groves and bays of the Spanish islands, consider this. Over the last fortnight, Mediterranean Spain and the Canary Islands have collectively experienced some of the worst weather since records began.

As reported this week in, the Balearic island of Majorca had a pasting from a week-long freak weather system, made up of two separate storms. The damage done to the island’s north coast has run into a cost of millions of pesetas, with estimates exceeding Pta25 million (over £10 million).

The normally peaceful island state was thrown into a state of turmoil as port towns along the north coast and inland were pounded by Force 10 winds, boats were destroyed and trees were felled by the unprecedented and violent storm.

The equivalent of 370 hectares of woodland was destroyed, Mallorcan environment chiefs confirmed yesterday that in total 132,545 trees were felled by the hurricane force winds which caused more damage in six days than forest fires over the past ten years.

The freak weather has called for changes to the infrastructure of Mallorca’s emergency services. Balearic Interior Minister, Josep Maria Costa said that an alternative communication system was needed, in the case that future emergencies on this scale meant that neither standard telephone lines nor the public emergency hot lines are used.

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Majorca Fire Brigade chief, Francesco Buils, suggested that the digital radio system be extended across the island. Costa said that emergency co-ordination needs to be established in Ibiza and Menorca while the fire services called for more investment for the best equipment.

The Balearics were not the only Spanish province to feel the elements at their worst. Three people died and up to 142 people have been rescued following heavy flooding in the Canary Islands (reports Reuters). A group of mostly German-speaking tourists were surprised by heavy, flash floods in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park in La Palma, one of the archipelago’s larger islands.

Despite fears from a government spokesman that two people were missing and another two perhaps unaccounted for, a rescue services spokeswoman said that they were not aware of any missing persons. On Wednesday 21, there were warnings of further heavy rainfall in the Canaries.

Elsewhere in Spain, storms in the Gibraltar Straits have kept fishing boats in port and delayed ferry services to and from North Africa. Hopefully, the worst is over, but all in all, Spain has taken a thorough beating in the last two weeks so if you planned to make it Destination Espana for your winter break, we advise to watch the weather forecasts closely.


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