The fourth clean-up in 7 months begins in Los Alcázares

The latest heavy storm to cause flooding in Los Alcázares and other towns and villages in the Campo de Cartagena and along the coastline of the Mar Menor was rather less expected than the other three which have hit the Costa Cálida since last September, but the amount of rain it brought with it was very significant indeed in the south-east of the Region of Murcia and in and around the regional capital.

The Aemet national weather summary for Tuesday 24th March makes for very unusual reading in that eight of the ten wettest places in Spain were in the Region of Murcia! Heading the list is the city of Cartagena with 121.2 millimetres, followed by Alhama de Murcia (90.6), Mazarrón (86.6), Torre-Pacheco (84.8), Fuente Álamo (83.0), San Javier, La Manga and the city of Murcia. The top ten is completed by Pinoso in the province of Alicante (Very close to Jumilla in the north of Murcia) and the north African enclave of Ceuta.

Taking into account the rain which fell on Monday, the CHS water infrastructures administration body reports 24-hour totals of as much as 143 millimetres in Cartagena and well over 50 mm in numerous other locations in the south-east.

Given that the average rainfall in the city of Cartagena for the whole of March is just 26 millimetres, it can be appreciated that the temporary closure of many secondary roads and urban streets was almost inevitable!

The image at the top of this piece shows the situation on Tuesday in the Rambla de Benipilá in Cartagena, the normally dry runoff channel which was almost full to the brim as the rain cascaded down for hour after hour on Tuesday morning and well into the afternoon.

On Wednesday the fourth-clean-up operation in seven months got under way in Los Alcázares, with most of the efforts focussed on the area close to the municipal sports complex which has become known as "zone zero" after the series of floods which began in September 2019, with the severest gota fría storm for half a century. On this occasion the damage is thought to be less serious than seven months ago, but it is too early as yet to reach any definitive conclusions.