When we have “bad weather” in Tenerife, it is generally quite wild. There is information HERE on staying safe in the sea (including the wild waves we get with “costeros”) and HERE on staying safe in heatwaves (which in a hot climate are dangerous, and definitely not to be welcomed!). In winter, however, we also get storms and high winds, and the Government’s English version of their official advice for staying safe in both is below.
- Before winter comes, check the condition of roofs, drains, etc. If you live near a barranco, inform your Ayuntamiento if it is saturated with debris, etc.
- With a forecast for heavy rains, be attentive to any instructions given by the authorities through the media.
- Never camp in areas vulnerable to flooding, i.e. barrancos etc., even during the summer.
- Whenever possible, stay at home, as long as your dwelling is not in a barranco or place of risk.
- Avoid driving during heavy rain where you can, but if necessary, take the utmost precautions and pay particuclar attention to the height of any water, slowing down and checking brakes. Of course, abandon any vehicle that begins to fill with water.
- If you must go out, keep to main roads or motorways, avoiding forest tracks or secondary roads and using low gears.
- If you have to pass through flooded areas where water is flowing, secure yourself to some fixed object with a rope around your waist.
- Do not cross bridges which are under water as floods rise.
- If your home is inundated with water, avoid toxic or flammable substances coming into contact with the water.
- Do not go into flooded areas like garages, basements, etc.
- Never use lifts during intense rains because the electricity could fail.
- If necessary, disconnect the electricity.
- If the need arises, do not hesitate to leave the house and go to a higher place, or wherever the authorities are sending people.
- If you are isolated at the top of your property, do not abandon it to try to swim to safety because the current can drag you down. Do not overestimate your abilities. Be cautious, and wait for help to arrive.
- Once the emergency passes, do not return home until the authorities and/or technicians tell you it is safe to do so.
- Once back home, do not light matches or devices that give off any spark, including the light switch, until you are sure it is safe to do so.
- Drink only bottled water.
- Call 1-1-2 in case of emergency. If you need information use 012 and not 1-1-2.
How to reduce risk:
- If the storm is accompanied by lightning, close doors and windows, as air currents can attract lightning
- Unplug electrical appliances, power surges can damage or you may get an electric shock. Unplug your television antenna
- Stay away from fences, towers or other metal structures
- Do not take refuge under the trees. Remember that wet wood is also electrically conductive
- Avoid road travel, if you have to, use extreme caution
- In the city, remaining in buildings can protect against shock hazards
- In hilly terrain, look for low areas avoiding deep valleys. Mountain slopes are safer.
- If a storm starts when you are inside a car, close doors and windows, turn off the radio (unless it is a channel of water). Switch of the motor until the storm is over
- If you are working outdoors avoid handling machinery, metal objects and any tall objects, like sticks and poles
- Do not approach a site already damaged by lighting
- Never run under a thunderstorm
- Do not sit on touch anything wet. Rubber soles are not a full guarantee for safety
- Avoid phoning in order to prevent the collapse of lines
- In case of emergency, please call 1-1-2
- For any request for information, call 012.
- Close doors and windows to prevent air currents that could lead to breakages
- Remove from balconies and roofs the pots and all objects that could fall onto the street
- Check the houses exterior for any cornices, balconies and facades in poor conditions that may cause falling rubble and debris
- Avoid going out hiking or camping until normal weather returns
- Try to postpone travel by road or proceed slowly and with caution. The use of public transport is recommended
- Do not use motorcycles and high-sided vehicles (trucks, vans caravans) that are at risk from strong cross winds.
- Avoid walking through gardens and woodlands where trees and branches may fall
- Stay away from walls, old houses, scaffolding, light signs, billboards and other structures that could be knocked over by the wind
- Electrical towers are dangerous. Move away and in case of risk alert on 1-1-2
- In case of risk from unstable construction cranes immediately notify authorities on 1-1-2
- Try to stay away from the coast (beaches, boardwalks, breakwaters, etc.), to avoid being dragged into the water by large waves
- Drive slowly and with caution. Look out for fallen obstacles, especially on overtaking and or going around bends
- Be careful not to call by phone in order to avoid the lines to collapse
- In case of emergency, please feel free to call 1-1-2
- For any request for information call 012.