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Floods Hit Lanzarote

Tuesday November 27, 2012

Floods Hit Lanzarote

The heavy rainfall yesterday has left parts of Arrecife, Lanzarote’s capital, inaccessible and as many as forty families had to be evacuated from their homes. The State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) has given a further warning for today, although its forecast is for lighter rains than the heavy downpours experienced during Monday.

However, it appears that AEMET was taken by surprise by the amount of precipitation that fell across the Canarian archipelago yesterday as it had only issued a level three warning, the least severe of its forecasts. Yet during the most intense period of the deluge yesterday between 23 and 26 litres per square metre fell in parts of Lanzarote, closing sections of road and flooding numerous houses.

But it seems that AEMET were not the only agency who were caught unawares by the level of rainfall that the storm was bringing with it. An hour and a half after the heavy rains had begun, the Emergency and Security Consortium for Lanzarote advised motorists to avoid driving if at all possible and to avoid parking in obvious danger spots such as barrancos, the usually dry river beds, where excess rainwater is carried down to the sea at various points around the island.

Whilst the level of disruption caused by the weather on Monday is nothing compared to the inundations that have plagued the UK in the last few days, Lanzarote is not particularly well equipped to deal with heavy downpours. Underground storm drains have only recently been added to the infrastructure of Puerto del Carmen, for instance, and are non-existent in other parts of the island.

The forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday is for sporadic light rains throughout the day and at present there are no indications that further heavy precipitation is expected.

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