So we have had floods for at least the third time in 2009. Living, as we do, 10km up a “rambla”, a so-called-dry riverbed, every flood turns it into a real riverbed so these things matter to us as access to the coast is cut and we have to go the long way round by climbing to the top of the Contraviesa hills and driving down the road to Albuñol, adding more than 40 minutes to a trip to the shops.
Depressingly, our house having been restored by chapuceros (cowboy builders), the roof leaks when it rains. The solar electric does not generate electric and, despite the high winds which drive the recently installed windmill (and blow the rain through the cat-flap), we have to use the generator to keep the batteries topped up.
I haven´t heard the loss of life reports on this occasion but there were deaths on the two earlier occasions in the year. Some of our friends have been stuck in their houses for over a week. Buildings have collapsed and tracks have been washed away. In local towns the sewage system overflows and contaminates the fresh-water system, it also backs up through the pipes appearing inside peoples´lower floors. Aparantly more rain is forecast and although it may fall mainly in the plain it finds its way to the sea through the ramblas and barrancos of the foothills.
Living a stone´s throw from the driest area in Europe, Almería, we had hoped to have rain at intervals followed by the welcome sun to dry us all out and this is what we used to get. This year´s rain has lasted over a week with barely any significant break and even the farmers are complaining. Indeed, it doesn´t really help to have your almond trees die of drought in the summer and get washed away by flooding in the winter.
Clearly, from the topography, the Southern Coast of Spain has been formed to a certain degree by water erosion which is why the A7 / E15 motorway goes from tunnel to bridge to cutting to viaduct as it chops through the hills and over the barrancos (gulleys) that have eroded between them.
The locals tell me that they have not seen this quantity of rain in such a short time since 1975 when several people were killed by water rushing down the Rambla de Albuñol, now safely encased by concrete walls. I have read today that, despite the normal water shortages, some reservoir dam gates were opened this week because of the volume of water, increasing the downstream flooding!
Not the easiest time to be transporting parcels, especially with the big freeze returning to the UK.