LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA – Heavy rain in the Canary Islands has already led to the first landslides and power cuts. It is a serious harbinger of what Tropical Storm Hermine may bring in the future.
Meteorologists predict in the newspaper 20Minutos that in three days the amount of rain could fall fifteen times the average amount for a whole month of September. With this information, Storm Hermine has pushed Spain’s Atlantic archipelago to maximum alert for the “exceptionally persistent” rains that will continue all weekend and through Monday.
Red weather alert
The Spanish weather institute has therefore given a red weather alert for Sunday. This translates into “extreme risk due to unusual meteorological phenomenon of exceptional intensity”. Aemet warns not to go out unless absolutely necessary. Consequently, every school on all islands will remain closed on Monday due to the severe weather.
The weather institute has shared some satellite images of the tropical storm heading for the islands. This shows the dense clouds that cause the intense rain showers.
The Municipality of Las Palma de Gran Canaria has mobilised a team of 400 people to prevent potential risks and where necessary, help people and respond to emergencies that may arise as a result of severe weather such as flooding or fallen trees and damage to buildings.
The NHC (National Hurricane Centre), responsible for tracking tropical hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, has provided a final update on Hermine. Heavy rains are expected to continue in the Canary Islands for the next day or two. It is also predicted that the risk of flooding is high.
Sunday more and heavier rain showers
For the archipelago, Hermine will reach its peak on Sunday with mainly persistent, intense rain on the eastern parts of the islands of La Palma and El Hierro. Here, 180 litres of precipitation per square metre is expected in 12 hours. On Gran Canaria it is about 120 litres of precipitation per square metre in 12 hours. On Lanzarote and Fuerteventura it will be up to 40 litres per 12 hours.
In addition to the precipitation, storm Hermine also brings strong winds up to 65 km/h. The storm will move north for the next few hours and will turn northeasterly by late afternoon on Sunday, then turn northwesterly Monday night and then weaken.
Emergency service 112 warns residents of the islands to stay indoors. If they do have to go outside, they should stay away from areas subject to flooding and certainly not cross any drainage channels. People should also be careful when driving on streets that can also form drainage channels due to their slope.
In Puerto de la Cruz a ledge has fallen down from a rock. There have been no accidents. However, where the rock landed, is usually busy with pedestrians. Anyone flying to Tenerife Norte should check the status of their flight. Due to poor visibility at the airport, flights may be cancelled. Landslides have also occurred along several roads in Tenerife.