Spain declares ‘disaster zones’ in aftermath of Storm Filomena

Spain’s government on Tuesday classified Madrid and other regions struck by Storm Filomena as disaster zones.

Spain declares 'disaster zones' in aftermath of Storm Filomena
Photos: AFP

The measure, that was approved in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, will trigger emergency subsidies and extra support measures to repair damage from record snowfall and low temperatures in Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Asturias, Andalusia, Aragón, La Rioja and Navarre.

The details of the aid package have not yet been decided, but the needs of each region will be assessed and help distributed by relevant ministries.

The storm brought the heaviest snowfall in half a century, blocking roads and train lines, felling trees and causing massive snowdrifts which transformed into ice blocks when a big freeze hit.

Madrid City Hall estimates the damage caused runs up to at least €1.4 billion ($1.70 billion) in the Spanish capital alone.

On Tuesday, ten days after the storm, the city had yet to clear snow and ice from an estimated 43 percent of roads.

It has closed its parks including Retiro and Casa de Campo to clear the damaged trees and warned they may not reopen for two months.

Across the capital maintenance teams have been working to clear drains, tunnels and sewers of debris caused by Storm Filomena to reduce flooding risk ahead of torrential rain forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.


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Norway just had its fourth wettest August in 123 years

August in Norway was the fourth wettest since the country started taking records in 1900, with new rainfall records set at over 100 weather stations, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute has reported.

Norway just had its fourth wettest August in 123 years

It may seem hard to believe given the amount of rainfall that has fallen over recent weeks, but August 1951 was even wetter, setting the country’s all-time rainfall record for the month. 

“It’s seldom happened that as many records have been set as there have been in August,” Jostein Mamen, a climate researcher at the Meteorological Institute, said in a press statement. “In August we’ve set over 100 rainfall records and over 50 temperature records.”

The majority of the records were set in the area most heavily affected by Storm Hans between August 7th and August 9th. 

Fourteen weather stations in Viken set new rainfall records, twelve in Innlandet, seven in Vestland, seven in Oslo, and one each in Agder, Trøndelag and Troms and Finnmark. 

Helga Therese Tilley Tajet, climate researcher at the Meteorological Institute, said that it had been “an extreme month in the south”. 

“This applies both to how much precipitation has fallen in one day and how much precipitation has fallen in August,” she said. “This has made it the fourth wettest August for the whole country in 123 years.”

While August was cold and wet in the south of Norway, in the north it was unusually warm and in places dry.

The state meteorologist Eirik Samuelse, based in Tromsø, wrote on his weather blog that Tromsø had recorded its third warmest August on record, with an average temperature of 13.8 degrees, only rivalled by 1930, when there was an average temperature of 14C and and 1934 when there was an average temperature of 13.9C.

The Myken weather station on the island of Rødøy in Nordland recorded on 20.4mm of rain in August, 69 percent less than normal, the Grunnfjord station on Karlsøy in Troms and Finnmark recorded on 24mm, 65 percent less than normal. Finally the Dividalen II station in Målselv in Troms and Finnmark recorded 24.9mm, 65 percent below normal.