It’s frequently misreported as happening in other years but today is the 17th anniversary of one of the worst storms ever to affect Tenerife, one in which eight people in all died, dozens were injured, some 400 homes were lost, and many lost cars and personal property when torrential rain fell on Santa Cruz and the metropolitan and Anaga areas on 31 March 2002.
In all, some 232.6 litres per square metre fell in 24 hours (129.9 litres per square metre in one hour), the heaviest rainfall in a single day since records began in 1869. It peaked between midafternoon and 8pm, and started to weaken around midnight, by which time eight people had died (three more than the five lives the storm was originally thought to have cost) and dozens had been injured. Materially, many lost personal belongings, some 70,000 were left without light and some 4,000 with damaged property – some houses were completely destroyed – losses calculated at around €90m.
The storm wasn’t quite the great storm of 1826 which left 500-1000 dead (see HERE), and there have been serious flash floods here since, notably in February 2010 and October 2014, but the torrential rains of March 2002 have gone down in recent history as one of the worst downpours in Tenerife in living memory. You’ll see “31M” (31 March) quite a few places today.