by Marc Girons Lopez, EFAS Dissemination Centre
A team from the Spanish directorate for civil protection and the Jaume I University in Castellón found that EFAS notifications had been highly reliable for Spain in 2020, during which a number of major storms hit the country.
EFAS supports preparatory measures in advance of major flood events by providing complementary information to relevant national and regional authorities across Europe. To this end, flood and flash flood notifications are sent to EFAS partners before such events strike.
During 2020 a number of storms hit Spain, leading to considerable amounts of rain and strong winds, and producing significant damage in different parts of the country. Several of these storms were major named storms that affected large parts of the country: Gloria (January), Karine (March), Barbara (October), Dora and Bella (December).
In the aftermath of these events, a team from the Spanish directorate for civil protection and the Jaume I University in Castellón analysed the performance of the notifications sent by EFAS to the Spanish authorities based on reports on the predicted events from local and regional newspapers. The analysis was done at the provincial level and the results were then aggregated by regions (autonomous communities). These results are summarised in the figure below.
The authors found out that the regions which received the largest number of EFAS notifications (Aragon, Castile and León, Castilla-La Mancha and Valencian Community) were also the ones with the largest percentage of false alarms (i.e. no event occurred in connection with a given notification). Conversely, the regions with the lowest number of EFAS notifications had the largest percentage of hits.
Overall, EFAS notifications had a high efficiency for Spain in 2020, with over 85% efficiency across the country. Notifications tended to correspond best with observations when these were connected to large storm events, such as during the aforementioned Gloria, Karine, Barbara, Dora and Bella storms, but also during “cold drop” events (pockets of cold air detached from the jet stream typically producing downpours in south-eastern Spain).
The full report containing the analysis of EFAS notifications for Spain during 2020 can be accessed here. The team is now focusing on quantifying the damages produced by these storms in order to further understand the economic impacts of these events.