Clean-up operation begins and State of Emergency lifted after semitropical storm chaos

The State of Emergency was lifted last evening, having been in place for almost exactly 24 hours. The Ministry of the Interior has said that help will be made available for those who have suffered personal or material damage through the effects of the storm. As of today, Ayuntamientos will be able to apply for resources to be directed to affected families or complexes of apartments where damage has been suffered in communal areas. Applications will be accepted for up to a month counting from the day after the end of the emergency situation. The Protección Civil Unit of the Government Subdelegation in Santa Cruz will be holding meetings over the next few days with municipal technicians to co-ordinate the processing of help heading towards the affected municipalities.

What this actually means for individuals is not totally clear, but it seems fairly evident that there is financial assistance available for those who have suffered personal or material losses, and for communities of apartments. This assistance appears to be being directed from Government, via Protección Civil to the Ayuntamientos, which is where it would make sense for anyone who is thinking of applying to start to seek any help. Apparently financial assistance of up to €8,500 will be available per family for losses occasioned by the storm.

In terms of Tenerife’s beaches, Los Cristianos, Fañabé, San Juan, Abama, and Las Galletas were the areas most affected. In Los Cristianos, the sea damaged dikes, and carried off sunbeds, waste bins and gangplanks in Playa de Las Vistas. One part of the wooden promenade at Parque Santiago was completely lifted up by the force of the wind and the sea. Los Cristianos harbour needed repair too, with the force of the waves damaging the ferry mooring jetties. The Ports Authority have already started urgent repairs.

In Playa Fañabé, besides damage to umbrellas, sunbeds and kiosks, the sea swept away a vast amount of sand, and there was considerable concern in the concessionary Urbanización Playa Fañabé that there was almost no sand left in the area between the central dike and the Hotel Anthelia. Initial valuations suggest that the overall cost for repairs to this beach could amount to around €450,000 euros. Immediate works are estimated at around €100,000, but there will also have to be repairs to electrical installations, showers, etc., in what is one of the principal tourist beaches of the whole island.

In Guía de Isora, damage is mainly confined to the coast, particularly the beaches of San Juan and Abama. The sea, together with the mouths of the barrancos, carried away a great deal of sand, and there were rockfalls on the walkways. San Juan beach has a major gouge caused by the deluge from the barranco. The Local Development Councillor, Héctor Gómez, has inspected the damaged areas and said that the clean-up operation has already begun, and that reports about necessary repairs will be sent to the Dirección General de Costas, part of the Environment Department.

In Las Galletas the waves damaged the road to El Fraile, which was blocked to traffic. Attempts to reopen it were already underway yesterday afternoon, and the Environment Councillor of Arona, Antonio Sosa, said that they were trying to sove the problem as soon as possible. The wooden walkway at El Médano was also damaged, and part of the road in the centre of the town collapsed.La Opinion, C7, Diario de Avisos

Update 2 February (5pm): The latest information on the roads is that the following remain closed:

  • TF- 631, Abades to Tajao
  • TF 812, Barranco Grande to Teide
  • TF 21, La Orotava to Teide
  • TF 12, subida de San Andrés to the peak
  • TF 583, Los Menores to Taucho

There are also problems on the roads joining Taco-Los Cristianos road near Candelaria, Tijoco with the North, and Buenavista with Santiago del Teide.

The  storm has now been classified as semitropical, and is said to be waning slowly as it moves out to sea, though further effects are still expected until it clears the islands completely. RTVC, C24H

Update 2 February: As of last evening, the Canarian Government Minister of Presidencia, Justicia y Seguridad, José Miguel Ruano, has declared a level 2 state of emergency in the Canaries.

A level 2 SoE is declared when severe weather conditions (Fenómeno Meteorológico Adverso – FMA) affect the co-ordination and mobilization of resources necessary to deal with the emergency at an multi-island level, and when Protección Civil advises the need for a unified operational response.

Since various islands have activated independent Emergency Plans, and taking into account the anticipated evolution of the storm, and the likely requirement of the Cabildos mobilizing extra-insular emergency responses, the level 2 State of Emergency has been declared.  El Dia

Update 1/2 February (midnight): Eight roads in total have been blocked through the weather, and another two badly affected by rockfalls or floods, the Tenerife Cabildo says.

The blocked roads are:

  • TF-631 (Abades-Tajao)
    TF-272 (Barranco Grande-Tajao)
    TF-21 (Orotava-Teide)
    TF-12 (Subida de San Andrés to the peak)
    TF-28 (Taco to Los Cristianos at Candelaria)
    TF-423 (Ruigomez-Tierra de Trigo)

and of particular interest in the south:

  • TF-583 (TF-82 Los Menores to Taucho)
    TF-585 (TF-82 Guía de Isora road to Tijoco Alto).

Roads affected by rockfalls/floods: TF-47 (Armeñime-Puerto Santiago) and TF-136 (Casas de la Cumbre-Afur).

All access roads to the Parque Nacional de Teide remain closed.

In Santa Cruz, some Titsa buses are running again, though the timetable is subject to the vagaries of the weather. Currently running are lines 014 and 015 from Santa Cruz to La Laguna, lines 232 and 234 from Santa Cruz and Añaza, and the 908 from Santa Cruz to Salud Alto.

Although up to 120 litres of rain per square metre were anticipated, 187 were measured in the La Gallega area of Santa Cruz! C7(1), C7(2), C7(3)

Update 1 February 7pm: It has just been announced that the Canarian Education Department has suspended all classes tomorrow. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz has apparently had an horrendous day, with the port and the Avda Anaga impassable, one tram blocked, another off its rails, and TITSA buses and access roads paralyzed in and through the capital. C7

Update 1 February 3pm: AEMet is forecasting the worst of the storm this afternoon and evening. The public is urged to take maximum precautions, and the Canarian Government has activated its Emergency Plan, which should see all schools closed immediately and requests not to travel unless completely necessary. Protección Civil authorities are now in charge.

People are advised to avoid bridges, not to use lifts, or go into basements, because the flooding and electrical surges could see electrical doors or aparatus shut down or jam, and to stay well away from barrancos! If going out is essential, disconnect the electricity at the main fuse box. If flooded indoors, do not try to swim for it because the current will drag you away. Call 112 (but only in a real emergency) and wait for help.

Update 1 February (midday): Road closures for weather-related problems:

  • TF21, which is the main road through the Teide crater, has been closed due to ice … and in the last few minutes, it has been announced that all access roads to the Parque Nacional have been closed.
  • Avenida de la Constitución in Santa Cruz, one of the main roads through the capital has been closed due to overflowing drains. It has had knock on effects for traffic joining and leaving the TF1.
  • TF631 in Abades, the road joining the TF-632 (TF5 to San Miguel de Tajao) is also closed due to landslides.

It was also reported earlier this morning that schools in the Arico and Granadilla municipalities have suspended classes.

The areas of Tenerife worst affected are Arico, Granadilla, and Guía de Isora. For the moment, parts of Arico and Guía de Isora remain without electricity. Many parts of Granadilla lost power last night as well, but this was restored around 4am.

Meanwhile, AEMet has issued a forecast that the intense rains and high winds, particularly in the south and east of Tenerife (and the other western islands and Gran Canaria) won’t begin to ease off until Wednesday … and that we have not even arrived at the halfway point of the storm right now. C24H, C24H, C7, C7

Update 31 January/1 February (midnight): Apparently the worst is not over after all. The Orange Alert for storms with torrential rain has been extended until Tuesday, after which the rains are expected to ease off somewhat. In addition, a Yellow Alert has been declared for very heavy seas and force 6 to 7 southerly winds around the south coast of Tenerife. The alert will last until midnight on Tuesday. Canarias24Horas

Update 31 January: The general forecast is for rain until Tuesday/Wednesday, but the alert for severe weather expires tonight, and the latest satellite picture (above) does suggest that the worst has now passed Tenerife by.


Update 30 January: The orange alert for torrential rains has been amplified to include gales with winds of up to 80 km per hour in the municipalities of La Orotava and Vilaflor. An additional yellow alert has been established for the rest of Tenerife and the other western islands for winds gusting to 70 km per hour. The alerts for gales will be in force from midday tomorrow.  Canarias7

Update 29 January: The Canaries have been put on Orange Alert for these thunderstorms. The alert will start at midnight Saturday and last throughout the whole of Sunday. Up to 120 litres of rain per square metre is anticipated, with the south and east of the western islands worst affected.  Canarias7

Original post 28 January: The Met Office (Aemet) has forecast an intense and persistent spell of rain sweeping across the Canaries from the west. The front should reach the islands on Sunday, and heavy thunderstorms are expected, particularly in Tenerife throughout Sunday itself. Cloud cover is likely to increase between now and the weekend, bringing some light showers. Snow is anticipated on Teide, maybe even as early as tonight. Canarias7


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