Home Affairs assures it had no forecast of the strength of the waterspouts in Montsià

Road and rail traffic reopens but some 80 people are still displaced and hundreds of homes are without power

2 min
Vehicles trapped by the waterspouts in Montsià and Baix Ebre

BarcelonaIn Les Cases d'Alcanar early this morning there were still two palms of mud in most of the streets. The rain has continued to fall throughout the night and early morning in the Montsià and Baix Ebre but not with the intensity with which it did this Wednesday at noon. In little more than three hours the waterspout completely flooded the streets of municipalities such as Alcanar, Amposta or Ulldecona. The mayors of the area say that the waterspout caught them by surprise because they had not received any notice from the Catalan Government to alert them of the amount of water that would fall in a short time. The Department of Home Affairs has claimed that none of the meteorological models it had on the table - both at Catalan, Spanish and European level - foresaw this scenario.

"The meteorological warnings were not as bad as to activate the alert of the Inuncat emergency plan", repeated this morning the deputy director of Civil Defense, Sergio Delgado, who in statements to Catalunya Ràdio assured that they had "no indication" of the volume of water that fell in the area in a short time and that it was four times the usual levels. The Catalan Minister of Agriculture, Teresa Jordà, said in statements to the same radio station that the downpours were "very difficult" to predict and recalled that global warming is causing unprecedented "meteorological changes and phenomena".

Around 80 residents who have had to spend the night away from their homes are still being evacuated. Most, about sixty, are in two hotels in Alcanar. Others are also staying in the municipal pavilion and a hotel in Ulldecona. Rail traffic and roads have reopened first thing in the morning. In most of the municipalities the electricity service has been restored, but according to Endesa there are still around 200 homes without power, most in Alcanar, the area most affected by the waterspout. Until six o'clock in the morning, the 112 emergency telephone has received more than 700 calls related to the waterspouts and 534 incidents have been recorded in the regions of Montsià and Baix Ebre, most of them in Alcanar.

Damage to homes, establishments, crops, infrastructures and urban furniture will begin to be assessed this Thursday. The Minister of Agriculture has placed herself at the disposal of the affected municipalities to assess the damage caused by the storm. "Where insurance does not reach, the Government has to get there", she said. This Thursday, the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, and the Minister of Home Affairs, Joan Ignasi Elena, are visiting the area and will meet with emergency commanders to assess the situation.