7 Sep, 2015 @ 15:25
1 min read

VIDEO SPECIAL: Hell and high water as shocking floods leave deaths in Andalucia

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motorway floodTHE heavens opened today, wreaking havoc across southern Spain with at least one death.

While shocking floods swept through Adra in Almeria, news came in of one fatality – a 61-year-old Granada man who was killed when his car was washed away.

The plastic plant security guard was from Gualchos, close to Polopos where a man was swept to his death in the floods of September  2013.

With over half a metre of water falling in some places, at least 30 people trapped in their vehicles in Adra were rescued.

Over 100 calls were put into emergency services.

With some 40 litres of water per cubic metre falling over the last hour, the floods were heavier than Andalucia’s residents have seen in many years.

At least one roof collapsed in El Ejido, where damage was described as ‘considerable’.

Seven Granada roads were cut off, and the northern Almeria train service was also suspended temporarily.

It was shut for at least five hours on Monday morning.


The road to Malaga airport was closed due to flooding, many streets were out of action and yellow weather alerts sprung up around the province.

Eleven flights due to land in Malaga airport were diverted to Sevilla and one was redirected to Madrid.

While a Competa resident saw their swimming pool ‘become an infinity pool’, travel plans were shunted back and the airport was even forced to close the runway.

Numerous Adra, Almeria, locals uploaded shocking videos showing the considerable damage while Torremolinos, Malaga City and Churriana also saw extremely heavy rain.

The floods continue in Valencia, Granada, Alicante and Almeria, where the emregency services have put out a serious flood emergency warning.

Many streets of Benidorm – Avenida Jaime in particular – were also transformed into rivers.

Photos taken from Facebook and video from YouTube.


Iona Napier

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  1. Here we go again. The first rains and Spain is out of order again. Can’t they build some decent drainage and plan for these events? It’s not as if the rain is a total surprise lol.

    • I think, to be fair, these rains are pretty exceptional and no matter what amount of planning and investment, there are bound to be impacts from weather events. Thoughts for those friends and families affected by this.

      • These rains are not exceptional; the OP carried similar stories on previous years and there are many, many articles, photos and videos of the floods in Andalucía.

        • Fred, I’ve been following many stories on here for a long while and never commented. However I’ve noticed your posts are invariably negative. Many people have suffered damage and hardship as a result of these exceptional rain storms. Some of those people are my friends and neighbours. According to the locals these storms happen say happen once every 8-10 years. So they are not common place and to say so insults the people whose livelihoods depend on the land around them. I refer to my previous post, you cannot plan and invest for what Mother Nature may throw at you next. What needs to happen is that we support our neighbours who have been affected and prepare best we can for future storms of this magnitude. I hope you’ve not been too badly affected by all of this.

          • “According to the locals these storms happen say happen once every 8-10 years”

            8-10 years?! lol. you obviously missed the recent typhoon in Malaga and the massive unprecedented rains of 2010 and 2012 that both had fatalities. That’s just three events that undermine your statement straight away – one wonders if you even live in Spain to talk so inaccurately. These types of downpours and floods are much more frequent and commonplace, especially after summer. In the decade I’ve lived in Andalucía floods and rains have affected the region about 60-70% of the time. It is a fact that Spanish towns and roads are badly designed, with either highly inadequate or zero drainage. Cars constantly aquaplane on roads and there are dozens of crashes and fatalities in these rains. Drains are not cleared in time for winter, and there is rarely a contingency plan. It’s just a fact of life in Spain. Spain likes to keep these stories out of the newspapers and online sources because it damages tourism.

          • James I totally agree with you..I have lived here for quite a few years and the improvements made in the drainage systems is fantastic…we had a tornado which lasted seconds and did a lot of damage mainly to trees and a few buildings…but the Ayuntamiento was out straight away and I was totally impressed with their quick response and how hard they worked….weather has changed globally and I think we are so fortunate to live in this beautiful place…people who are not happy…there are plenty of planes..if you don,t want to help then go away

    • You have to remember along the Costa Del Sol we have VERY high mountains..Much higher than any in England for a start..and far more..I have lived here 15yrs and the Spanish Government has done an awful lot drainage systems..massively improvement….any where in the world now gets flash flooding

      • Fozza, the “get on a plane” argument is flawed and unintelligent, are we not allowed to comment on poor drainage systems and poor planning? Do we not pay our taxes? The tornado in Malaga did massive damage btw. Not all Ayuntamientos are the same you will find.

  2. From my knowledge of Andalucia I would not recommend anyone buying new properties even on the merest slope of a hill as Winter rains undermine inadequate ‘floating’ slab footings within 2-3 years, gardens become soft and spongy etc. Between the 2 Alhaurins there are properties which lost their swimming pools due to this as well as heave and subsidence which crack their buried water pipes and patios and this needs checking and maintaining every year.

    The only site I remember which had proper drainage installed before build was San Jorge near Alhaurin el Grande but then the developer went bust as did subsequent developers who took over.

    Why doesn’t Building Regs Spain insist on proper drainage and proper footings, even piled footings? But then this is Spain and build quality tends to be more miss than hit!

  3. Fred, pleased that you reminded us of the first rains in Spain and how unprepared Spain was. I suppose one example could be the devastation caused by a sudden down pore that hit the south coast of England and it’s a pity that Spain didn’t heed the amount of devastation that rain can cause. Perhaps both governments could put their heads together and shed their experiences in tackling a sudden rainfall considering the vast experience UK has with rain.

  4. its the same every year. A simple solution would be to clear the drains of rubbish, leaves etc at the end of August before the rains start. But that simply never happens!!!

  5. Regardless of the amount of effect countries make regarding flooding they will always occur. Countries do their best to combat this type of disaster. Mount Vesuvius could erupt at any moment and the San Andrea’s fault line could devastate California yet people still live in close vicinity to this form of nature which flooding is part and parcel of life and water has to go somewhere. Approximately 700,000 people still live around the bottom of Vesuvius knowing full well the consequence and yet the government cannot do anything about it.
    One can only do their best regarding flooding but as for the other two mentioned nothing can be except move away. Easier said then done in most cases.

  6. Strange to blame Spain for the rain. Floods and allowing floods to happen is part of risk assessment by the country. If it costs 10 million to clean up 2 billion to stop and it does not happen to often the floods will be allowed. Also it is not Spain that is unprepared, try and google “Floods in xxxxxx” where xxxx is any country and most of the time you will find pictures of floods so it is not “Only in Spain” it is everywhere.

      • How can talking about floods be off topic, straighten your glasses. Your first post….
        “Here we go again. The first rains and Spain is out of order again. Can’t they build some decent drainage and plan for these events? It’s not as if the rain is a total surprise lol.
        Also in another post you state that Spain is affected by floods 60-70 percent of the time ???
        I also agree with another poster on here that all your comments are negative, I reckon you would make “Victor Meldrew” look like the heart and soul of the party.

  7. jacko,
    your comments about volcanos and tectonic plate shifts have no relevance to flooding at all.

    What no one has mentioned is the root cause of all this flooding – all the forests cut down and not replanted. This applies across the world.

    Once a squirrel could travel from Gibralter to the Pyrenees without ever needing to set foot on the ground, so said the Greek cartographer who was hired by the Romans to map the Med coast of Spain, that was the 1st century AD.

    In the time of the great civilisation of Al-Andalus the Arab and Jewish Semites respected the forests, fully realising their beneficial importance in all aspects to the land.

    I well remember my friends Enrique and Paco telling me about the huge straight pines around Cazorla all being cut down and this excellent species of conifer being lost forever. Take a look now, all the topsoil has long gone, leaving only barren hillsides.

    If so many Europeans had’nt been divorced from the real world for so long thanks to the industrial revolution, no one would be silly enough to live in areas that are vulnerable to landslides. Look at the idiots who buy houses built at ground level on flood plains – all quite obviously areas to avoid.

    To borrow the lyrics from a Boy George song – la genta es muy stupido – es la verdad.

    • Stuart.
      Hmm, interesting parallel. Were you giving an example of a squirrel, Gibraltar, the Pyrenees, the Greeks, the Romans and uncle Tom cobbler and all in the same context as I was giving example’s of the disastrous effects of nature. Volcano’s, shifting plates and flooding are all part of nature regardless of how it occurs. BTW. The devastation on the South coast of England was caused by tidal waves, nothing to do with trees, act of nature,
      So you see Stuart I also don’t see the relevance of your input.

  8. Fred, I wasn’t saying heavy rains only happen once every 8-10 years, of course there are heavy rains every year. What I meant was that it would be unusual (but not out of the question) for a specific village or town to be severely badly hit more than this. The locals know what they know and have told me. My village in the Lecrin Valley has of course been hit by the heavy rains you mention previously, and I have witnessed first hand the extremes of weather in mountainous Andalucia, but nowhere near as badly as on Monday where walls have collapsed, roads have been washed away and friends and neighbours have had to be rescued. And, for the record, yes I do live in Spain and I love that I do. That is my choice. You state the drains are not cleared in time for the rains in the autumn and winter…I doubt no matter how well cleared the drains were or how wonderful the drainage infrastructure was it still would not cope with the sheer volume of water (buckets in my courtyard had over 7 inches of water in them in just a few short hours). Even in the UK, sudden downpours often leave roads impassable…no amount of planning or investment is going to reduce this risk completely. So, no, I do not agree with you when you say “Spain is out of order again”. As for keeping this out of the news because it damages tourism…really?

    • James, walls collapsing and roads being washed away is normal winter weather in Andalucia. Seen it so many times. Infrastructure is badly neglected in Spain, and flooding in towns is never tackled properly. Walking through Malaga last week all of the drains had soil and plants growing out of them. Locals tell me that they are sick to death of town halls neglecting the infrastructure. I believe my locals lol.

      • But Fred, what did you do about it. Did you write a complaint to the council, did you arrange a petition, did you visit the council and explain to architects how they overcome these problems in other countries or did you do as usual and moan on OP.

        • Jacko, yes, I have complained to my own mayor over such issues in the past, and I have seen the town architect too. The results were a mixed bag. The mayor was responsive but said “we have no money”, which is what he and his predecessors have said for a decade – same old response. He then blamed the Junta – same old canned response again. I did see the town architect once (mayors cousin btw lol) and after asking a few questions he asked if I was a journalist and then threatened to call the police as I was “asking too many questions”. This is a common experience of Spain that I hear from many people. Spain just really isn’t run properly and it is not open to new ideas or debate. It is a closed system, flawed and in need of complete replacement. Just my opinion you appreciate. If you interpret it as a moan, then it is a personal moan which you can of course ignore.

  9. John, I don’t need to re-read anything. I did not say that “floods only occur in Spain”, nor did I say that “Spain is to blame for the rain”. I merely said that Spain is not geared up for the rain. You even quoted me and the quotes don’t even say what you said I was supposed to have said.

  10. Luc I think Malaga/Torremolinos probably suffers more rain than Marbella maybe down to higher mountains behind and even some snow melt, the weather pattern there seems different to Marbella IMO. Also think the Alhaurins suffer more from rainfall than Coin just on that difference in location albeit not a huge distance from each other!

  11. Stuart, your quote:-
    “What no one has mentioned is the root cause of all this flooding”.
    Well I thought it was common knowledge, it’s called a massive distribution of RAIN and regardless of the amount of drainage a country can provide one cannot combat the force of nature. Note the massive destruction that has currently hit Japan by RAIN. Woodlands, Forrest’s villages or towns cannot cope with nature. Hope that answers your question

  12. Jacko, we can’t keep looking back in hindsight. Spain needs to prepare better for rainfall, as I’m sure you would agree. Of course nature cannot be controlled, but generally speaking, Spain’s roads and infrastructure are quite pathetic when it comes to water drainage and water run-off. Just look at most main roads, many of which have little drains every hundred meters or so. Spain needs to beef up its drainage, and it needs to get intelligent when building houses and put in more drains to alleviate subsidence, which is a major problem for campo houses. When it comes to rain, Spain hasn’t got a clue. I asked a builder a few years back about this and he said “it’s sunny most of the year, so we don’t bother”, which pretty much sums up the problem lol.

  13. Stuart….Example
    Floods caused by heavy rain killed at least 15 people and left 12 missing near France’s Mediterranean coast. More than 350 mm (14 inches) of rain fell on the Var department in southern France in a few hours, triggering flooding that surged in some places to two metres over normal water levels

  14. Jacko, scroll down to where it says “Local news from Costa del Sol and inland Andalucia plus national news from around Spain.” We all know it rains and floods in other countries of the world, but this blog is concerned with Spain. Please keep on-topic as people want to read about issues that concern them in Spain, and not elsewhere.

  15. Jacko are you missing the point? Floods can and do occur everywhere however in Spain proper drainage installed prior to construction is a rarity, homes are often built on slabs and not footings, heavy rains occur in Winter in Spain, if you live on a slope your property and pools are often undermined by non existent drainage which cause cracks to occur, subsidence, soft spongy ground, pools cracking if built on slopes, cables and pipes to split, patios to crack. Spain appears to have very poor building regs. there’s so much evidence of it certainly a few kms inland CDS. Building qualities in UK, France and many other Northern European countries from my knowledge knock spots off Spain’s.

    That’s before we get discussing the worst sound proofing/insulation between Spanish properties I’ve ever known, in short it’s cr4p unless you pay high prices!

  16. Mike, I don’t think I was missing the point, I was merely pointing out the devastation that a heavy rain fall can do regardless whether it be in Spain or elsewhere and was not advocating Spain as an example for it’s wonderful drainage system, but as you pointed out the building qualities in UK, France and many other Northern European countries which to your knowledge knock spots off Spain needs clarifying somewhat. Can you therefore explain the building qualities of those countries that have a wonderful drainage system as to why they also suffer the devastating effects of flooding such as in the UK, France and many other countries, Japan quite recently if you had seen the news. Could it also be due to poor drainage?. I had been involved with drainage back in the UK and the system in the UK is possibly one of the best, but we also had and still have devastating floods due to the drainage system being overwhelmed. I happened to be in the UK last month and we still had flooding.
    Okay, so the system is bad in Spain, so don’t purchase property in Spain, what more can I say.

    • Fred, pleased you agree. “so don’t purchase property in Spain” Most sensible thing Jacko has ever said on this forum and the most sensible thing Fred has ever said. lol.

  17. I’ve said ‘flooding occurs everywhere’ but as Fred has said this topic is about Spain’s problem hence the reason myself and others are discussing Spain. However I pointed out that building qualities/drainage in Spain are poor compared to UK and other Northern European countries. Sometimes drains alone can’t cope with devastating rains, but the destruction could be far worse without them and Spain needs to wake up to sound building regs and drainage but that would be akin to seeing pigs fly!

    • Mike, I believe it was also you that mentioned other countries. Why not join Fred in organizing a petition to the Spanish government. Have you noticed, not only on this site but others, people continuously moan and complain about anything to do with Spain without doing anything positive.
      It’s a good thing we have OP to vent your frustrations and pleased that you happen to mention “Spain needs to wake up to sound building regs and drainage but that would be akin to seeing pigs fly!”.
      So do you really think all these moans and complaints have an effect on the Spanish government, if not, and you intend not to do anything why waste your time in moaning, just sit back and enjoy all the other merits that Spain has on offer that other countries don’t have. Remember Spain was civilized long before others.

    • Mike, is this article centered around Spain or flooding. It so happens that the topic is centered around
      flooding and if not Spain would not even have been mentioned. So basically my question is, is the topic about flooding or Spain. If it’s about the flooding in Spain then one, I believe is entitled to compare how other countries combat this disastrous effect which in the long run maybe of benefit to Spain and it’s drainage system. But as I have said, all the moaning is fruitless.

  18. OP, once again, you allow questions referring to me yet block my replies, why, especially to a nutcase wailer named Fred the moaner. Can understand if he is on the payroll, perhaps the money was too low, if any, and perhaps this news outlet should be renamed to….OP THE WAILER.

    • Jacko – this type of comment is EXACTLY the reason why we’ve recently removed/edited some of your replies. Please moderate your language and stick to the subject or you will be banned from contributing to the discussions on the OP website.

  19. 1. Mike, firstly had these people that wished to purchase property on a slope PAID for a private surveyor.
    2. The same sound/proofing/insulation can be found in most blocks of flats regardless of which country.
    3. Have you lived or experienced the s/p/i in a blocks of flats built in “A No Find Concrete” in the UK.
    (believe it was a Danish or Swedish design that folded like a pack of cards. Type of building stopped).

    Mike, we can all find faults with building controls plus many other things in various countries that people decide to live in but to consistently compare these building control and such with Spain is ridiculous. Either one enjoys living in Spain with all it’s faults or one returns to the country they came from but the moaners and wailers are still here in Spain enjoying many benefits that those other countries don’t possess, I for one. Simple really. As I have said before…..Rome was not built in a day.

    • Jacko, you are fundamentally wrong when you say “either one enjoys living in Spain with all it’s faults or one returns to the country they came from”. This is to say that no one can talk about Spain’s faults, at all, and everyone who comes to live here must say nothing. That is an absolutely ridiculous stance, and it is also the main reason why you have no credibility on this site. I see you’ve resorted to ad hominem attacks again too, you need to calm down.

  20. Jacko you appear so agitated with pursuing your points and having a go at others including the Olive Press.

    Suggest you ask all those people who live on a slope in Spain, might take you many years as there are 10’s of 1000’s properties on slopes due to Spain’s planning laws allowing mountain and hill tops to be sliced off indiscriminately in order to obtain a view.

    You are completely wrong with your 2nd point above re sound proofing/insulation comparisons, I know from on site experience that many Spanish apartment/town-house developments have the merest hollow terracotta blocks between adjoining walls. whereas in the UK building regs now insist on 2 solid blocks with cavity between. Yes I have lived in apartments in both England and Spain, there’s no comparison for noise levels between the two countries now. UK was not so good once but ha improved whereas Spain remains poor.

    Your point as to ‘one enjoys living in Spain with all it’s faults’ does not mean that one has to endure poor build quality, poor drainage, property built on slabs not proper footings (on many but not all builds)! What has Rome got to do with build quality in Spain, after all Spain has had years to get it right?

    Re the topic I believe the lack of drainage on developments in Spain and flooding issues has been covered adequately by those with knowledge based on living in Spain! Don’t confuse your idea of ‘moaners and wailers’ with those/us who also own properties in Spain.

  21. all these comments forget one thing……….its the first rains!!!!!….its bound to be bad!!!!!!……and if you dont like spain????……leave!!………anyone want to buy my house??…..the drains are good by the way………………………………………………..oh yes,karl smallman you can be selective with your censorship of certain posters its got to be said……..be fair to all please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. “anyone want to buy my house??…..”

    Don’t you like Spain, pg? Oh yes, please don’t confuse liking Spain and disliking badly built buildings and poor local government. Two different things entirely.

  23. Mike, I can see this is a never ending story. What I would really like to know as to why one chose Spain in the first place. I know the answer maybe that one “Can’t sell the property” etc or I would return but perhaps no thought has been given to thousands that are not wishing to sell, who live in an area where there is no flooding, have a decent drainage system and are quite happy living in a villa, house or flat. As you happen to mention slab built I have also built on a reinforced slab, a complete Doctors Surgery for two Doctors due to poor ground conditions, and I might add a few specialized ultra modern bungalows of steel and glass with no footings.
    But now we have drifted from “flooding” to “building” and although I sympathize with people that have suffered with flooding but for people that are fortunate in not enduring such a misfortune it is just news to them like any mishaps in life. Mike please don’t think I am being frivolous in my thinking, but i’m afraid that’s life and nothing is perfect.
    As for Rome, I can see you don’t understand the meaning. Lets put it this way. Do you think progress in all it’s forms have advanced from the day’s of say Franco or indeed from the wheel, or in-fact the two sold blocks with cavity. Spain is improving slowly, it’s a poor country, at the moment, but who knows, and in all the twenty odd years of living here have seen massive changes, not all to the good I might add but have also have seen new sewage and water drainage being laid. lol

  24. Jacko,
    you really need to read your previous posts as you contradict yourself over and over again. You completely ignored the salient point of my post aka – deforestation. Obviously you know absolutely zero about Spain’s history, start with the Euskadi who have been in Europe as a whole, not only the Iberian peninsular for over 40,000 years. Then came the Celts over 8,000 years ago. Only 1800 years ago the savage Aryans began to invade Europe and the cutting down of the great European forest began in earnest.

    To not see the point that the Greek cartographer made in the 1st century makes you look very obtuse at the very least. I’ll try to make it easy for you – trees, especially deciduous trees take up lots of water from the ground, they also have a root system that replicates below ground what you see on top> So, when it rains heavily these root systems keep the soil in place. Remove the trees without replanting which is what the Christian savages did can have only one result – landslides – not difficult to understand is it?

    Building regs. – you hav’nt got a clue have you and still you mouth off, once again making yourself look very foolish. I will repeat for the umpteenth time – not single house or apartment block built in Spain and that includes homes built for the mega rich would ever receive planning consents anywhere in northern Europe or Scandinavia, in a nutshell, they are crap built.

    I have been involved in building houses/apartment blocks/hospitals/law courts/office buildings in 4 different countries – so of course I don’t know what I’m talking about but you do.

    I wonder if you have seen as much of Spain as I have and having lived in two totally different parts of Spain – you of course have superior knowledge – LOL.

    • Stuart, may I suggest you concentrate on the country that you live in, France. They have sufficient problems that i’m sure would require your dying attention instead of the capitulation from Spain.

  25. “leaves on the line”, “snow shuts down transport links” (alll 2cm of it), wobbly Millenium bridge closed days after opening etc. Funnily enough I believe Spain copes better with adverse conditions than a certain country we know! (possibly because they get a lot more extreme weather). As for the ludicrous claim that no Spanish properties would get the ok in northern Europe – there are actually building companies from the UK, Germany etc who build properties in Spain. I’ve been in excellent apartment buildings in north Madrid and in Pamplona that are -built and insulated as anywhere – they need to be because of the continental climate. I can’t speak for everywhere in Spain, but that’s because I know it’s impossible to know everywhere in Spain. Beware the fools who claim to do so.

  26. Phew Stuart, so it was the Euskadi, the Celts, the Aryans and the Christians that has caused flooding, not natures response in dispersing the clouds of water. Well well, well. Please take note everybody on the new concept of flooding, must inform Wikipedia. Da.

  27. Jacko, he said “landslides” not flooding; your selective quoting will be your undoing. Not all floods are caused by nature. They are frequently man-made too, and deforestation does cause floods, and so does over-building. Wikipedia? lol, no wonder you are so badly informed.

  28. Fred and Stuart, both have never mentioned the dramatic cause of flooding. Never mentioned overflow of rivers, tidal waves etc which is all due to heavy RAIN FALLS. Why, simple question.

  29. Can anyone explain why the roofs of Spanish buildings (all of them in & around my local towns in Almería province, anyway) have NO GUTTERS? All the storm water pours off roofs like waterfalls into the drain-less streets, causes an hour or two of (sometimes very expensive) flooding, then flows into local dry riverbeds and out to sea. It’s then lost forever, and pretty soon we’re back to a drought situation and everyone having to pay exorbitant fees for the (undrinkable) tap water. What would it take to amend regional building codes to incorporate compulsory gutters, downspouts and underground water storage for irrigation, street cleaning, even toilet flushing? I’m sure these infrastructure improvements would pay for themselves pretty quickly!

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