While Spain is frequently wracked with fires and droughts that devastate the countryside, imperil homes and hammer agriculture, there is a third horseman of the apocalypse that stalks the country: flooding.

The risk of flooding arrives each year as the other dangers recede. Two people are already known to have died in floods this year, including a policeman trying to rescue a trapped motorist in Alicante.

The regions of Spain most at risk of flooding and most susceptible to flood damage have been documented in a new report, with Valencia and Sevilla coming in the top three, just behind Barcelona in first place.

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The top ten provinces of Spain that stand to suffer the most property damage from flooding. Credit: Gamma Location Intelligence

The report, from Gamma Location Intelligence, combines the risk of flooding with the potential damage to property that would be suffered to determine which provinces have the most properties at risk and an estimated cost of flooding.

And the results show that, despite the northern coast being at most risk of flooding, it is the Mediterranean coast that presents the biggest risk of suffering massive damage.

Flooding is estimated to cause €??17,531,757 of damage to property in the province of Barcelona, which suffered 90mm of rainfall in the Port of Mataro area in 60 minutes on September 16.

Just to the south in the province of Valencia, home owners have reason to worry, as €13,878,134 of damage is forecast based on the risk of flooding there.

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The provinces of Spain most at risk of flooding – while the northern coast is clearly most at risk, it is more sparsely populated and as a result is forecast to suffer less average property damage than the Mediterranean coast. Credit: Gamma Location Intelligence

The region was hit by flooding in Oropesa del Mar, Cabanes and Torreblanca, in the province of Castellón around September 17.

Sevilla is forecast to suffer €12,473,571 worth of damage, while in Alicante property owners and insurance companies should fear losses of €6,686,007.

Overall, Spain can expect an average annual loss from flooding of nearly €200million, Canary Islands excluded.

Richard Cantwell, a top scientist at Gamma LI, said: “The effects of climate change are being felt across the globe and whilst wildfire damage and drought tend to be more prevalent in Spain, flooding also occurs in winter months and is increasing due to climate change.

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A map of Cartagena with properties at risk overlaid with areas likely to flood. Credit: Gamma Location Intelligence

“In fact, in the second half of 2021 alone, there were several severe flood events in the likes of Navarra, Cantabria and La Rioja. Terrible floods have also wreaked havoc in recent months across Murcia, Tarragona and Madrid.”

In a year in which Spain suffered €3billion in damages from forest fires across 293,000 hectares burned to the ground, the losses from flooding is a further spectre of climate change that looms over the land.


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