Storm Bernard impacts Morocco, adds to Spain’s abnormal weather patterns after record rainfall from Storm Aline

satellite image of storm bernard at 1200 utc on october 22 2023

Just days after Storm Aline set rainfall records in Spain, Storm Bernard unleashed its fury over Morocco and Southern Spain on October 21 – 22, 2023. The storm caused extensive damage to Morocco’s key agricultural region of Larache and resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries in Spain.

Following the record-breaking rainfall brought by Storm Aline on October 19, which saw a record-breaking 90 mm (3.54 inches) of rain deluge Madrid in a 24-hour period, Storm Bernard has added to the abnormal weather patterns affecting Spain and Morocco. In Madrid, the aftermath of Aline led to severe travel disruptions, with the high-speed AVE train service from Atocha being suspended and several Metro lines interrupted.

Three of the four wettest days since records began in the capital have been recorded in the last two years – 2021 and 2023. The previous high was in 1972 but Dana, which hit the capital in September saw widespread flooding and left two people dead.

In Morocco, the Larache region, a major hub for the country’s soft fruit and avocado production, experienced devastating winds of up to 106 km/h (66 mph) brought by Storm Bernard on October 21 and 22. Abdellah El Yamlahi, president of the Moroccan Avocado Association, emphasized the substantial losses in crops and damage to trees. Baioua Oussama, a soft fruit grower, also highlighted the irreparable damage to sensitive soft fruit crops.

In terms of infrastructure, Oussama stated, “The winds have also blown away the greenhouses, which will have to be rebuilt.”

In Southern Spain, the storm led to fatalities and a multitude of injuries. One individual was confirmed dead in Huelva province after a landslide caused his vehicle to veer off the road. In Cordoba, another death is suspected due to flying sheet metal. The Alhambra Palace, a well-known tourist destination, also reported injuries from falling tree branches, with a 16-year-old Polish girl now in intensive care.

Spain’s meteorological service Aemet is currently reassessing Storm Bernard’s classification, as it exhibited both tropical and subtropical characteristics. This is particularly noteworthy given that Spain recently endured a historic October heatwave and Storm Aline’s record-setting rainfall, which affected municipalities like Alcala de Henares, Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Las Rozas, Getafe, and Leganés.

References:

1 Storm Bernard leaves 2 dead, several injured in Spain – Anadolu – October 23, 2023

2 Storm Bernard causes important damage to crops in Morocco – Fresh Plaza – October 23, 2023

3 Record Rainfall Brings Travel Chaos To Madrid – Madrid Metropolitan – October 20, 2023

Featured image: Storm Bernard at 12:00 UTC on October 22, 2023. Credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-10, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers

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