A September to remember

by Lorraine Williamson
September to remember
del canto chambers 2

It´s October already but let´s take this opportunity to look back and remember September, and also to compare it to last September when times were very different. Or were they?

Many news stories were different when we compare the two years. However, some topics dominated both months in each year. Read on, and remember September from 2021 and 2022.

September 2022

Weather

There was something almost daily to report on the weather. After months of intense heat, September began with a drop in temperature, unstable weather with precipitation and storms. Furthermore, normally, there is some hurricane activity in August, but Danielle, at the beginning of September was the first of the 2022 season.

The hurricane looked set to hit Spain, however, it weakened and changed direction. But, this meant, the remains of Cyclone Danielle brought rain to southern Galicia, Extremadura, western Andalucia and the Ebro area. The Atlantic storm also put 12 autonomous communities on edge.

“Freak” conditions

There were also some “freak” weather conditions. A hurricane wind caused damage in La Rioja. Hailstones in Girona, some 11cm in diameter fell killing a 20-month-old baby. Lightening strikes in Mallorca killed 2 tourists.

Heavy showers and a cloudburst caused major flooding in the streets of Mallorca with almost 175 litres per square metre falling here in just one hour. There was also severe flooding north of Barcelona.

Drought

Although there have been spells of wet weather and storms, it has not been enough to help the areas of drought throughout the country. In fact, every five years, an area the size of the province of Málaga is affected by the dry climate. Furthermore, this is progressing in Spain by 1,500 square kilometres per year. It is a result of the increase in temperature and the decrease in precipitation. 

In the third week of the month, storm Hermine brought heavy rain and floods and caused chaos for the Canary Islands. There were cancelled flights, landslides, road closures. In fact, in just 3 days, the amount of rainfall on Gran Canaria was more than the normal average for the full month of September. And in some places, even almost as much as in a whole year. 

At the same time, the Balearics and the South-eastern coast of Spain also suffered from intense precipitation.

However, the weather also provided some positive news when it helped to extinguish a wildfire in Granada.

Price of food

The price of food in Spain is becoming more expensive than the average for the rest of Europe and other major economies, with the exception of Germany. 

In fact, it was reported that the highest food prices since 1994 are recorded. 

Also read: When food prices are high, avoid this scam

Coronavirus

Last year, Covid was a subject we could not avoid, however in September 2022, it is barely mentioned. The only discussion is now that Spain has abolished final Covid checks for international travellers. However, there is still the debate on whether masks still need to be worn on public transport.  Other than that, the question people are asking now, is “Do I have Covid, or is it the flu?

Oil leak OS35

Much of September was taken up by the oil spillage from the tanker OS35 in the waters around La Linea and Gibraltar. Although lifeboats from Gibraltar had come a long way in pumping fuel from the tanker and from the sea, not everything could be removed. As such, weeks after the incident, some beaches were closed after oil remains were found.

Earthquake

Residents of the Spanish province of Zamora were rocked by an earthquake. The quake measured 3.5 on the Richter scale. Thirty-one municipalities in Zamora and León also felt the tremors.

Brexit – driving license talks

As has been the case for many months now, negotiations continue to reach an agreement over the driving license exchange. To date, those resident in Spain that still have a UK driving license are not permitted to drive. That is – until an agreement between Spain and Britain is reached.

Bullfighting

The controversy over bullfighting continued in September. The month began with calls for the Toro de la Vega tournament in Tordesillas (Valladolid) to be cancelled due to animal cruelty. However, the event went ahead, but without causing injury to the bulls. The new law prohibits the death of cattle as a public spectacle.

Baycrest Wealth

Then, in the middle of September, an 80-year-old man died during the Camp de Morvedre celebrations in Valencia when he was gored by a young adult bull.

“The torture of bulls must stop”, were the words of Podemos spokeswoman Laura Tuero in Gijón on Wednesday. Her city council urged the central government to classify bullfighting as abusive.  On the other hand, the regional government of Andalucía announced it is preparing a decree in defence of bullfighting. The government, headed by Juanma Moreno, will promote the creation of both a network of bullfighting municipalities and the Andalucian Prize for Bullfighting by means of a decree.

The month ended with thousands of demonstrators gathering in Madrid to protest the traditional bullfighting events. They responded to the appeal of the animal rights party PACMA. 

Death of Queen Elizabeth

September 2022 will always be remembered as the month when Queen Elizabeth II died, and her son Charles became King.

September 2021

Sierra Bermeja fire

On Wednesday September 8, residents of the higher urbanisations of Forest Hill and Abejeras on the outskirts of Estepona, Southern Spain were evacuated due to a forest fire in the Sierra Bermeja. High winds made this especially difficult to extinguish.

Later, the Andalucian president, Juanma Moreno confirmed there were clear indications the fire in Sierra Bermeja was intentionally started.

Thousands of residents were evacuated, one firefighter lost his life, and others were injured. It wasn´t until the rains came, that this complicated and erratic fire was brought under control.

Almost 10,000 hectares were burned which made it the most serious fire in the last 30 years in the province. The smoke plume from the fire was so long that it could be seen on satellite images, see the photo on this page. 

Weather

The month began with severe weather caused by a DANA affecting several parts of Spain with flooding and closed roads and railways. In areas the public was warned to sleep in an upstairs part of the home, and not to enter basements or garages.

In Otones de Benjumea (Segovia), lightning struck the roof of a church which subsequently burned down. When the worst of the storm died down, although temperatures rose, the wind and rain continued throughout much of the month in many areas.

Coronavirus

September 2021 was filled with news about Covid-19. Restrictions were easing in some areas due to the advancement of the vaccination process. 33.7 million people in Spain were now fully vaccinated, which equated to 70.9% of the population. The situation in the country was no longer classified as “high risk”.

By the middle of the month, Spain registered the lowest incidence of Covid for over a year. And by the end of the month, the government announced that football stadiums and other outdoor events could operate at 100% capacity.

Earthquakes

By the middle of September, more than 3,000 small earthquakes were counted on the island of La Palma. At this point there was slight concern, these quakes could lead to a volcanic eruption.

La Palma eruption

The concerns were not unfounded, as on September 19 at 3.10pm, a volcano erupted on the island of La Palma.

The eruption was heralded by days of intensifying seismic activity. Moreover, there were a few more powerful earthquakes that also occurred closer to the surface. Prior to this, the Cumbre Vieja was dormant for fifty years.

Thousands upon thousands of people and animals were evacuated from their homes. Many still are!

By the end of the month, Lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma reached the ocean off the coast of the municipality of Tazacorte around the area known as Playa de los Guirres (also known as Playa Nueva). At that time, it was not known that the volcano would remain active for months to come.

Also read: La Palma one year on

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