If you thought the solution to this terrible weather we’ve been having lately is to book yourself a flight to somewhere sunny – anywhere sunny – and sharpish, choose carefully. The UK is definitely not the only place at the receiving end of some unhappy weather gods at the moment. Usually reliably warm and sunny pretty much all-year round, the supremely popular Spanish holiday resort, Tenerife in the Canary Islands, is currently experiencing extremely heavy rain, intense storms and flash floods.
Five people are reported to have died late last night when a severe storm caused flash floods in the holiday resort. It’s currently not clear whether any foreign visitors are among the casualties.
According to Miguel Zerolo, the mayor of the island’s capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the sudden deluge has forced hundreds of people to flee their homes; it’s also cut off power and telephone lines, as well as all access to the port. According to local authorities, the capital of Tenerife remained blacked out this morning as emergency repair work was carried out on all the networks. Although the port is still inoperative, air traffic at Rodeos airport was restored today, after the rain ceased in the north of the island.
The floods occurred after two and a half hours of heavy rain, which was concentrated in the Santa Cruz area. Pilar Merino Tromboso, the Interior Ministry representative in Santa Cruz de Tenerife Merino, reported that almost 59 gallons per square meter of rain fell on the city in just four hours on Sunday.
“The city is virtually in darkness,” said Tromboso, who added that presently, his biggest concern is that buildings may collapse.
Many local residents have been affected, with some 400 people unable to reach their homes. In response to the situation, the Red Cross has deployed 120 volunteers, 10 ambulances and off-board boats to help in the rescue operation.
Temperatures in Tenerife are unlikely to rise above 12 degrees this weekend, dropping to 9 degrees overnight tonight. More heavy wind and rain is expected tomorrow, with little improvement until later next week.
The Canaries are a top holiday destination with sun n’ fun-seeking Brits, with Tenerife often taking the number one slot with European tourists visiting the island in their droves. And although unusual, this isn’t the first time Tenerife has been hit by severe weather. The government issued its highest-ever severe weather alert for the Canaries last December, and holidaymakers were warned not to venture out after in the Spanish holiday resort was hit by dangerously high winds and rain, which left the southern part of Tenerife under water.