Spain – Record Rainfall Causes Flooding in Alicante

Parts of south east Spain, in particular Alicante, saw torrential rainfall and some flooding earlier this week.

As much as 137.4 mm of rain was recorded in Alicante in 24 hours on 13 March – almost half its average yearly rainfall total.

Several roads were blocked in Alicante and Social Media posts showed images of abandoned cars stuck in streets submerged in water. Local media reported that a man had to be rescued from his vehicle after flood water swept his car into the Serpis river.

During the evening of 13 March Alicante municipality activated the Municipal Action Protocol in response to the storm and heavy rain, referred to locally as “Temporal de Levante”. A statement by Alicante municipality said that flooding had affected 7 locations in the and around the city. Villafranqueza and Playa de San Juan were reportedly some of the worst affected areas.

Playa de San Juan floods, Alicante, March 2017. Photo: Municipality of Alicante

Parque La Marjal

Local water company, Aguas de Alicante, said that much of the city was protected from more severe flooding by the Parque La Marjal, an urban park designed to store storm water during times of flood threat.

Parque la Marjal, Alicante was used to store storm water during the period of heavy rain, 13 March 2017. Photo: Aguas de Alicante

Via Social Media, Aguas de Alicante said “Parque La Marjal passes the “Temporal de Levante” test running at full performance during heavy rains yesterday”.

The flooding of the park has “avoided a major disaster in Alicante”, Aguas de Alicante added.

The Mayor of Alicante Gabriel Echávarri congratulated Aguas de Alicante on the management of the flood water and the park “that has admirably withstood the storm.”

Parque La Marjal is an urban park designed to store storm water during times of flood threat, but otherwise is a place for recreation for the city’s residents.

Record Rainfall

As much as 137.4 mm of rain was recorded in Alicante in 24 hours on 13 March, which is just under 50% of its average yearly rainfall total of 311.1 mm.

Average rainfall for the month of March in Alicante is just 23 mm. The rainfall for 13 March is the third highest daily total ever recorded in the city since records began in 1934.

Other areas saw in excess of 170 mm of rain. Spain’s meteorological agency AEMet said that over 20 locations in Valencia and Alicante recorded more than 100 mm of rain in 24 hours.

Rainfall in South East Spain, 13 March 2017. Image: AEMET

Fifth Major Flood Event in Southern Spain Since October 2016

This is the fifth major flood event to hit southern Spain since October 2016.

Last month storms in Malaga dumped 130 mm of rain in 6 hours on 19 February 2017, resulting in widespread flash flooding causing damage to homes, roads and vehicles.

In late December, 2016, 5 people died after torrential rain caused flooding in Valencia and Murcia. Some areas recorded more than 400 mm of rain in just a few days.

Two people died after floods triggered by torrential rain between 03 December and 05 December, 2016. Flooding was reported in towns and cities along a stretch of the coast from Malaga to Gibraltar.

Heavy rain affected wide areas of Andalusia from 21 October 2016, with flooding later reported in all eight provinces of the region. One man died in the flooding in Seville. Over 120 mm of rain fell in 24 hours in some areas.