Severe weather in Spain has disastrous local effects

The images of the severe weather that has been battering the east coast of Spain and the Balearic islands do not lie. Streets have been transformed into raging rivers, and countless cars have been washed away. There have been rescues and damage to buildings. Many drainage systems have overflowed, and the water is dragging everything along in its wake. The severe weather is expected to continue today. 

A tornado swept through the town of Denia in Alicante. It destroyed the local sports center. The Clariano river in Ontinyent (Valencia) burst its banks, and there were torrential downpours in Alicante. Tunnels on Ibiza are closed, and a 16th-century bridge washed away in Aielo de Malferit in Valencia. Two deaths and at least three injuries have been reported so far, with countless rescues and even more evacuations. This is not even taking the enormous amount of damage into account.

On Thursday, the Beniarrés district of Alicante recorded the highest rainfall in the Valencia region. There, in just 24 hours, a total of 359 liters of rain fell. In the same timeframe, the town of Ontinyent had to deal with 259,2 liters and Muro d'Alcoi with 214,2 liters.

About 500 people from various areas of Murcia had to be evacuated this morning. This Spanish hurricane has been christened Dana. This storm claimed a third victim when a man in Almeria was unable to escape his locked car.

Proexport's Director, Fernando Gómez, has asked growers not to abandon their farms. They should also avoid dangerous situations. He says it is too early to assess the damage to crops and fruit and vegetable companies. The rain has not yet stopped, making it difficult to gain access to certain areas.

No doubt, the damage will be immense. Vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and celery have already been planted. These will, more than likely, have to be replanted. This replanting will delay the season until November.

A grower from Murcia has said many crops have been destroyed. "Everything is under water. This is the first time we have seen this happen."

The effects of the floods in the region are still far from clear. "Everything is flooded; I have never experienced anything like this," says a local supplier. He adds that the situation now appears to be worsening. The total size of the devastation is not yet known. "The amount of damage will only become clear once the storm is over." 

Yesterday, warnings about wind gusts and damage to building were issued. This seems to, indeed, be the case. The town of Vicar lies between Almeria and El Ejido. There, the wind damaged numerous greenhouses. It is mainly the more northern regions that are getting the worst of the floods. A record amount of rain has fallen in Ontinyent, south of Valencia.

From Alicante, Thomas Bos of Thomasol reports that things have been quiet up to now. Today is the last Code Red day. Schools and universities are still closed. "The streets are very quiet. Here in Alicante, no one is out and about. However, 30 km from here, the Orihuela area in Murcia has been hit very hard."

"The Code Red applies to Almeria today too. The airport is one of the places that is closed. We will have to wait and see how today turns out. There is talk of very turbulent weather. However, the largest risks are very localized."

"The areas around Orihuela, Beniel, and El Raal have been walloped. Those are mostly citrus-growing areas, supplemented by mandarins and oranges. The storm will also have a negative effect on the broccoli. There was a lot of damage in Pulpi on Thursday night. The storm affected mostly the iceberg lettuce cultivation. Not everything has been planted yet. But it is a problem for the plants standing under water," he says.

The consequences of these extreme weather conditions might also be felt in the citrus and kaki seasons. These seasons are on the verge of beginning. Harvesting will only start in a few weeks. So, the fruit still has time to grow a little. However, so much water in the orchards increases the chance of fungal infections. The strong wind gusts may also have blown some of the fruit out of the trees.

So far, estimates for both sectors have been good. The citrus sector in the Valencia region expects a drop of 30% in the harvest. However, the fruit is of good quality and a reasonable size. Kaki growers are expecting a normal crop. Last year, 60% of the harvest was lost. This loss was due to frost and hail.


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