Storm Hermine haunts the Canary Islands

by Lorraine Williamson

LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA – Tropical Storm Hermine, whose effects in the Canary Islands will be strongest between 11.00 pm Sunday and 11.00 am Monday has already hit the islands. 

Hundreds of incidents have already been reported, including road closures, power cuts, cancelled flights and flooding. This, while the worst is yet to come, according to meteorologists. The emergency number 112 was called no less than 3,556 times between 6.00 am Sunday morning and 3.00 pm. Of these, 2,130 calls were from the province of Las Palmas and the remaining 1,426 from the western islands. 

Related post: Storm Hermine causes landslides and powercuts 

Of all reports, 826 were technical support requests; 467 were related to safety and 111 calls were made because the callers needed immediate assistance because of an accident. Moreover, the emergency number was busiest around noon. 

Closed roads 

A large number of roads have been made impassable by the rains and landslides. Consequently, the authorities of the islands have urged citizens not to move and above all to stay indoors. Access to Puerto de La Cruz via the TF-31 road is closed due to a flooded tunnel. 

Power outages occurred in the municipalities of La Laguna and Tacoronte in Tenerife. And also in the municipality of Telde in Gran Canaria. 

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Record amounts of precipitation 

In Tenerife, the municipalities of Güímar and Candelaria have been the most affected by the cloudbursts. In the first, 98 litres per square metre fell and in Candelaria 93.4 litres rained, according to weather institute Aemet. Furthermore, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 91.6 litres per square metre fell. 

The tropical depression has already resulted in a record amount of precipitation within 24 hours at the six monitoring stations of the Canary Islands. It has never rained as much in September as it did on Saturday, according to Aemet. 

Red weather alert 

Because the precipitation is expected to become heavier on Sunday evening and night, Aemet has also given the islands of El Hierro, the east of La Palma and the south of Gran Canaria code red. That is the maximum alarm and indicates extreme risk when performing normal daily activities. Code orange (major risk) applies to the other parts of the islands mentioned and the other islands. 

200 flights affected 

According to Aena, about 200 flights were affected by the rain at the eight airports of the Canary archipelago between Saturday and Sunday. Specifically, this Saturday 79 flights were cancelled and another 30 diverted, while there are already 82 cancellations and 3 diversions on Sunday. 

The latest forecast from the Aemet meteorologists says that the east of the islands of La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria can expect the largest amounts of rain in the coming hours. Still, Aemet points out that the situation is “potentially very unfavourable” across the archipelago.” 

Hermine is no longer a tropical cyclone 

The National Hurricane Center (NHC), the agency responsible for monitoring tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic, has reported that Hermine is no longer a tropical cyclone. It will, however, continue to rain heavily in the Canary Islands for the next few hours. 

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