Musings and forecasts of Andalusian weather and climate, from a veteran meteorologist.
By: esteban9, 7:00 AM GMT on May 21, 2011
A few more tidbits of information on this flood. AEMET was prepared for the possibility of severe weather in the region, well in advance of its development. The agency issued an orange alert beginning at 17:00 local time for all of Córdoba province, for 30 mm of rain per hour and for thunderstorms. According to media reports, the heavy rains and flooding occurred between 16:30 and 19:30 local.
However, inspection of the meteorological data showed that this event was produced by a small but intense line of convection over the area of Cañete de las Torres and Villa del Río. The Seville radar has been out of service for about a week (at least it has been so for the data provided over the internet). The Malaga radar was functioning, but the data I saw showed very few echoes over the area of the floods. This is likely because the beam from this radar is blocked by mountains between Málaga and Córdoba province. Therefore, it seems likely that AEMET forecasters were "flying blind" when it came to pinpointing the exact location of the flooding. It would be interesting to find out, therefore, if any "special warnings" were issued to local civil protection authorities for the threat. The importance of radar data to such warnings cannot be overstated.
Updated: 7:01 AM GMT on May 21, 2011
By: esteban9, 6:14 PM GMT on May 19, 2011
Just as we completed a paper for submission to the "Revista del Aficionado de la Meteorologia" (RAM) journal about the deadly flash flood in Cordoba province on 16 August 2010, ANOTHER event occurred in the province this afternoon today. The affected village was Cañete de las Torres, very close to Bujalance, where one man perished in the August 2010 event. Today one woman died. Very tragic.
There is no direct warning system in Spain for floods. The meteorological agency AEMET issues warnings for heavy rains, but not floods per se. This is pointed out in the analysis for RAM. See a pre-publication version here - (in Spanish). The president of the Junta de Andalucía, José Antonio Griñán, promised after the August event (article) that the Junta would determine the causes of the flooding. I recommended the Consejería de Medio Ambiente of the Junta on 12 May that they look into this issue, and they said that the matter would be taken up by "competent people;" so far I have received no response.
Today another person died in a similar event - has anyone taken action to improve warnings, so that this tragic story doesn't repeat itself?
More details forthcoming.
Updated: 6:45 AM GMT on May 21, 2011