by Richard Davies, floodlist
Two severe weather events in the Iberian Peninsula triggered flooding in Portugal and Spain during December 2022. The capital cities Lisbon and Madrid were both affected.
Flash flooding swept through the streets of Lisbon, capital of Portugal, after heavy rainfall on 07 December 2022.
The government of Lisbon district urged people to stay indoors after heavy rainfall triggered flooding in several areas including Alcântara, Campo Grande, Campo Pequeno and Baixa. Buildings including a hospital were damaged, roads cut and vehicular tunnels closed. Parts of the airport were also flooded. Portugal’s Civil Protection authority reported incidents of flooding and damage from severe weather in over 100 locations.
One person died in a flooded basement home in Algés in the municipality of Oeiras. Another person managed to escape the building unharmed.
According to figures from the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), the Tapada da Ajuda weather station in Lisbon recorded 82.3 mm of rain in 24 hours on 07 December.
In response to the flood event, the mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, promised the construction of two drainage tunnels by 2025.
Southern parts of Portugal saw heavy rain and flooding in the previous days. The city of Faro recorded 19.1 mm in 1 hour early on 05 December 2022.
On 05 December Portugal’s Civil Protection reported almost 200 occurrences related to the adverse weather situation, mostly in the municipalities of Faro, Loulé, Tavira and Albufeira. Firefighters rescued a person trapped in a vehicle after rising water in the municipality of Tavira.
Parts of neighbouring Andalusia Region in Spain also experienced severe weather at this time.
Heavy rain caused flooding in Algeciras and La Línea in Cadiz Province. Basements of houses, garages and commercial premises were flooded, emergency services said. Some minor flooding also impacted the town of Estepona in Málaga Province. Wind damage and a possible tornado were also reported in the province, leaving one person injured
Storm Efraín, Portugal and Spain, Mid-December 2022
Storm Efraín brought strong winds and further heavy rain to parts of Portugal and Spain from 12 to 14 December 2022.
The weather station at Tapada da Ajuda in Lisbon recorded 65.6 mm of rain in 3 hours early on 13 December. A red alert was issued and residents once again urged to stay home.
As of early 13 December, emergency teams had responded to over 150 incidents across the Lisbon district, including floods and landslides. The worst affected municipalities are Cascais, Oeiras, Loures, Odivelas, Sintra, Amadora and the city of Lisbon. Several people were rescued or evacuated from flooding in the Campolide neighbourhood. Around 20 roads and tunnels in the city were closed.
Several severe weather-related incidents were also reported in the district of Setúbal. The city of Almada in Setúbal recorded 59.7 mm of rain in 5 hours.
Storm Efraín also affected areas of Spain, with flood damage reported in the regions of Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid, Andalusia and Castile and León where one person died attempting to cross an overflowing stream in a vehicle in Salamanca Province.
According to figures from Spain’s State Meteorological Agency AEMET, Navalvillar de Ibor in Cáceres Province of Extremadura recorded 120.4 mm of rain in 24 hours on 13 December.
The 112 Emergency Center in Extremadura responded to over 200 incidents related to severe weather, including rescues in La Roca de la Sierra, Valdebótoa and Gévora in the province of Badajoz. Around 20 residents evacuated after homes were flooded in Zarza de Granadilla in Cáceres Province.
Emergency services in Castilla-La Mancha Region reported over 120 incidents related to floods and severe weather in the region, including in Toledo, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Albacete. One person was rescued from the roof of a vehicle trapped in flood waters in San Martín de Pusa in Toledo.
Emergency services in the Community of Madrid responded to 156 incidents, mostly in the south of the region. Firefighters reported flooding damaged homes in Majadahonda. Metro train services were interrupted in central parts of the city after tracks and several stations were flooded.
Emergency Services in Andalusia reported over 350 incidents related to the storm as of 14 December. In Seville Province, 1 person was rescued from a car trapped in floods and mud in Alcalá de Guadaíra. Homes were flooded in municipalities such as Écija, Dos Hermanas, Carmona, Alcalá de Guadaíra, La Rinconada, Morón de la Frontera, among others.
Flooding was reported in central parts of Grenada and 3 homes were damaged in Cúllar, Grenada Province.
In Jaén, floods in Torredonjimeno severely damaged a house leaving it at risk of collapsing. Two people were rescued from a vehicle trapped in floods in Castellar, Jaén Province, in the early hours of 16 December.