More DANAs, record heat and devastating storms in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson

MADRID – After a summer in which temperature records were broken and floods ravaged several places in the country, the latest in Madrid and Toledo, experts conclude that we must adapt to increasingly extreme phenomena. 

The summer of 2023 was particularly uncomfortable, with four heatwaves that brought temperatures above 45 degrees. Sleeping was almost impossible due to the sultry nights. 

DANAs and floods 

Last weekend, a DANA left a trail of destruction in Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha. There were also deaths and people going missing. The worst affected areas were in Toledo, Madrid, Castellón and southern Tarragona. 

Dana is now also inland 

In itself, a DANA is not a new phenomenon in Spain. Only the latter occurred in the interior of the peninsula. In addition, the DANA was “very intense for the time of year”, normally the phenomenon is more common in autumn. The contribution of very moist air from the Mediterranean Sea further fuelled the storms,” explains Ruben del Campo, spokesperson for the Spanish weather agency AEMET. 

“That humid air was static in the area for hours and that caused rainfall to reach very high values,” creating record numbers in cities such as Valladolid, Segovia or Toledo. It has never rained so much there in 24 hours. 

Baycrest Wealth

And not only Spain is struggling with extreme weather conditions. Countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Brazil and Hong Kong are also experiencing the devastating effects of climate change. 

Inescapable reality 

Jorge Olcina, a climate researcher at the University of Alicante, confirms that “the way it rains in Spain is changing.” More and more water falls in a shorter time. And then there is a lack of capacity to absorb it or guide it properly. He emphasises that we live in an increasingly less comfortable climate, which we especially notice in the summer with increasingly intense heat that lasts for longer periods. 

Adjustment is necessary 

The only way to deal with these extreme conditions is to adapt. For example, it requires “improvements to the sewerage system so that in the event of a large amount of rain, the water can still find its way in a short time. In addition, careful attention must be paid to places where there are buildings in flood-prone areas. Cities must also prevent the heat island from becoming too large.” by creating more green areas. Sectors such as tourism and agriculture also need to adapt. 

Investments needed 

“Investments are needed to minimise the impact of an increasingly intense climate,” Olcina concludes. Cities such as Alicante are already taking measures, such as the construction of flood parks. More greenery is being provided here and there. Other cities are coming up with things to better collect rainwater. 

Also read: August was the hottest month ever in Spain with two heat waves 


You may also like