Lisbon grinds to a halt after flash hailstorm.jpg

Lisbon grinds to a halt after flash hailstorm

VARIOUS PARTS of Lisbon were reduced to chaos on Saturday after torrential rain and a hailstorm.

Streets were turned into rivers, residences and establishments were flooded and one stretch of metro line was temporarily under water.

A part of the flat roof of Lisbon’s Santa Maria Hospital became so waterlogged that doctors’ surgeries and clinics below were flooded.

The flash storm, which affected mainly the Lisbon area, drifted in from the sea at around 2pm, resulting in hail stones the size of marbles crashing down on the city.

The Institute of Meteorology confirmed that the levels of rainfall had not exceeded limits set by insurance companies to cover the cost of damage to cars, broken tiles and window panes.

Sete Rios, Alvalade, Praça de Espanha, Campolide, Campo Grande, and avenues António Augusto Aguiar, João XXI, and Almirante Reis were, according to Lisbon fire services, among the areas of the capital most affected.

Hours after the torrential downpour, a fire service source for the Regimento de Sapadores Bombeiros de Lisboa said that there “weren’t enough hands available” to deal with the cries for help from countless numbers of people trapped in their cars, in shops, houses or cafés which were flooding.

Idália Mendonça from the Lisbon Met Institute, which is located close to Lisbon airport, said that in 10 minutes some 14mm of water fell in the city “which is an extremely high amount”.

“I was in the waiting room with my husband to be seen by the doctor when I noticed water coming from underneath the door and then saw it pouring from the ceiling of the doctor’s surgery,” said Sandra Pereira, a patient at Santa Maria Hospital, who added that part of the roof actually came down in the waiting room area.

Services on the Blue Line of the Metro had to be suspended because of flooding at the line’s Zoo Station, Jardim Zoológico.

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