Lisbon sappers stress: “We won’t be able to help everybody”
Bad weather hitting the south of the country today has seen residents of Lisbon told “don’t leave home” as reports talk of one fatality already, in the area of Algés
The commander of Lisbon’s ‘Sapper Firefighters’ (Sapadores Bombeiros) has stressed heavy rain will continue to create floods that will put cars and lives at risk.
There are already “many sheets of water, cars are stuck and we won’t be able to rescue everybody”, he warned.
According to Lusa today, “some lines of communication” have been affected by the floods that accumulated last night – which means the current situation in the capital cannot be assessed precisely. What is clear is that “throughout the capital, there is water in the streets”. There was even flooding at Lisbon airport, with mobile phone footage showing vehicles servicing planes at their docking stations splashing through accumulated waters.
Lisbon’s issues with flooding in heavy rains are legendary. This kind of situation is ‘nothing new’, but the intensity of the rains right now is – hence the appeal to people not to venture out, certainly not in their vehicles.
The city’s Civil Protection is saying exactly the same. A tweet went out this morning: “Due to the heavy rains, strong wind and danger of flooding, Lisbon’s Municipal Service of Civil Protection recommends that citizens stay at home, and avoid travelling”.
President Marcelo says it is time to find structural answers to city’s vulnerability
Already in the streets, visiting flooded areas and lamenting the death of a 75-year-old woman in Algés, President Marcelo has said it is high time structural solutions were found to the capital’s endless problems with heavy rain.
Portugal’s head of State is due to visit more areas affected by the dramas of last night, in the company of Lisbon’s mayor Carlos Moedas.
Victim died in flooded basement
The first fatality of the bad weather that has seen hundreds of calls to Lisbon’s Civil Protection services was caught in a flooded basement, which was where she lived with her husband.
Giving a round-up of last night’s situation, Civil Protection’s national commander André Fernandes said the woman’s husband had managed to get out of the basement in time. SIC later explained that this was because firefighters called to rescue the couple reached him first. By the time they went back for the woman, it was too late.
As various major roads in the capital are either closed, or only partially accessible, the worst affected areas appear to have been the inner city, Cascais, Oeiras, Odivelas and Loures.
The area of Mina de Água (meaning, water mine) in Amadora suffered land/ mud sliding to the extent that 100 people have been temporarily evacuated to ensure their safety.
Various districts today remain under orange weather alerts, including the Algarve, where flooding has already caused elevated damages in coastal areas around Faro.
According to a source for IPMA (meteorological institute), the rains that fell last night in areas like those worst affected in Lisbon reached 80 mls, which is roughly 63% of the total rain generally expected in whole month of December.
IPMA is forecasting more heavy rain tonight, into Friday morning.
The situation owes itself to a depression “centred between the Azores and the mainland, slightly hollowed out, transporting a mass of warm, unstable air that is affecting continental territory and originating in heavy rain in some areas”.