Tavira flooded as  river banks burst

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

Heavy rain and high tides led to the residents of Tavira being placed on amber flood alert on Tuesday this week as the river Gilão in the city burst its banks and flooded nearby streets.

Tavira Câmara warned residents of the city that “the unusual set of conditions” set to hit Tavira could lead to damage to property and jeopardise the safety of people in the area. 

However, despite the large volume of water flooding into the streets of Tavira, there was no major damage or injury to people reported in the area.

Authorities were concerned that the situation could worsen with the high tide due at 3am on Wednesday morning.

Further alerts were issued to residents but as dawn arrived, the flooded area remained closed to traffic but had not worsened, according to a spokesman from Tavira Bombeiros.

Bad weather in the Algarve has also seen the situation on Fuzeta island deteriorate, with nine more properties being destroyed in the past week bringing the total to 38 dwellings now demolished due to the bad weather.

The properties had been due for demolition as part of the Polis Litoral Ria Formosa redevelopment programme and the removal of the remaining houses on the island is due to begin later this month.

There is no end in sight to the current spate of wet weather affecting Portugal, according to data released by the British Met Office and the US National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration.

In what has been one of the coldest and wettest winters for years, both meteorological agencies predict that the rain will continue throughout March and April.

Ângela Lourenço of the Portuguese Met Office (Instituto de Meteorologia – IM) has explained that in the next 10 days the sky will continue to be cloudy, bringing with it substantial downpours.

“Although there will be bright and sunny spells, there is unlikely to be two consecutive days without rain,” she said pointing to the fact that in the short term forecast there will be rain at least until March 10th.

Last year Portugal enjoyed one of the driest winters since records began. Judging by this year, although it is impossible to make long-term predictions says the Portuguese Met Office, the winter of 2010 could end up being the exact opposite.

For further weather reports, please consult the Portuguese national meteorological website at www.meteo.pt (only available in Portuguese).