STRONG WINDS and heavy rain caused chaos in Lisbon last week as flooding, fallen trees and road accidents brought parts of the capital’s transport system to a standstill.
This resulted in heavy traffic and emergency services being inundated with calls.
The bad weather began late in the week and continued over the weekend, causing significant delays for people trying to travel around the capital.
The situation was made worse by a workers’ strike on the Metropolitano de Lisboa, Lisbon’s metro system. The metro was forced to suspend its services between 6am and 11am on September 22 but replacement bus services were put in place to appease the rush hour flow of workers.
The metro employees went on strike over a company agreement called the Acordo de Empresa, which they believe is out of date. At present no further strike action has been announced as negotiations are now taking place over the agreement.
A number of road accidents took place in central Lisbon, including a 16 car pile up on a junction near the second circular in which no-one was seriously injured.
On one of the worst days for heavy rain and winds, police reported 22 road accidents in one morning, the bombeiros received 79 flood reports mainly due to blocked drains and falling trees and a further 143 calls within four hours, from distressed families whose homes were under threat from the weather.
At Rua Domingos Tendeiros, in Ajuda an old mansion that had been converted into apartments suffered extreme damage and part of the building, belonging to an 81-year-old woman who had chosen to spend the night at her daughter’s home, was completely destroyed.
While in Algés, the storehouse of a cabinet making business that had been based in Lisbon for 26 years, was badly flooded. After being alerted by their neighbours, the owners managed to get into the building, which was waist high in water, and save as much machinery as possible.
The weather also affected the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Lisbon’s Estádio do Restelo. The Portuguese group D’zrt were expected to draw in large crowds, but the majority of fans chose to stay at home with only a few hundred battling the wind and rain to enjoy the music.
The Institute of Meteorology placed Lisbon as one of the 11 areas in Portugal on Orange alert over the weekend, but expects conditions to improve and have not issued any further warnings.