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WEATHER

Alicante left reeling from the deluge of the century

Record downpour floods ground-floor premises and shuts down schools; no victims reported

The Avenida de Denia in Alicante. ATLAS

The Spanish coastal city of Alicante on Tuesday morning began cleanup duties following the biggest downpour in recent memory. Rainfall in the popular Mediterranean destination was a whopping 137 liters per square meter (equivalent to 137mm), half of which came down in the space of just two hours. That makes the past 24 hours the city’s third-rainiest day in the last 80 years, and the rainiest 24-hour period so far in the 21st century, according to AEMET, the Spanish meteorology agency.

Only three days earlier, Alicante had shattered the record for high winter temperatures

Between Monday and Tuesday, Alicante received half as much rain as it gets in an entire year on average.

No injuries have been reported despite the sudden deluge. But on Tuesday morning many garages and ground-floor premises were flooded, entire streets cut off to traffic, and five schools announced that classes were being cancelled.


[Albufereta Beach]

The city’s weather records, which go back to 1934, show that the all-time record was set on September 30, 1997 when precipitation was 270.3 liters per square meter. The next biggest rainfall was logged at 233.1 liters per square meter on October 20, 1982. The third was last night.

Water pouring down into a street in Alicante.
Water pouring down into a street in Alicante. EFE

AEMET noted that for the first time, such a big downpour did not take place in the fall. Average rainfall for March is only 23 liters.

The rain was all the more surprising as only three days earlier, on March 10, Alicante had shattered the record for high winter temperatures: it was 32.5ºC in the city.


[Alicante, now: Avenida de Denia]

The Valencia region had not experienced such a weather rollercoaster since 1985, when January and March were very cold while February was unseasonably warm, said Jorge Olcina, head of the Climatology Lab at the University of Alicante.


[Santa Faz Monastery and square]

All of Spain was under a weather advisory on Monday for adverse weather conditions that brought rain, wind and snow to many parts of the country.

English version by Susana Urra.

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