Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunny Barcelona? Often, but certainly not always!

In all my time in Barcelona, I had never seen the local beaches closed until recently. The city has partitioned off all local beaches due the worst storm to hit the Catalan and Valencian coast in 50 years. On Christmas day the weather was typically lovely -- sunny, clear and bright. Then by the night of the 25th everything changed!

The rain started Thursday evening, eventually accompanied by very strong winds. That night I could feel the building I live in swaying! The storm was so bad on Friday that I stayed in all day. The awful weather continued on Saturday morning, but calmed down later in the day. When I walked to the seafront that afternoon I was shocked by what I saw: objects large and small strewn across the sand, restaurant terraces destroyed, and police tape running along the beach to block entry. (See the incredible photo slide show on the El Periodico web site; photos 4 and 5 were taken at Barceloneta beach, with the high rise buildings of Port Olimpico in the background. The photo above is of Bogatell beach, which is on the other side of Porto Olimipco.)

Saturday night there was a light rain when I went out, but by the time I came home storm conditions had returned. I have never seen the Mediterranean's waves crashing so hard and the only times I have ever felt such strong winds were during hurricanes.

The result of this awful weather is that businesses and homes suffered damage from wind and water, rail service was interrupted, traffic problems abounded and some individuals even lost their lives. So far, four people have died as a result of the inclement weather on the coast, including a Port Olimpico worker who was swept away by a wave. Two other people were killed when their cars were washed away by waves! The fourth person died while scuba diving near Valencia when the storm hit. (I think the storm hit there a little earlier in the day than it did in Barcelona.) Of course, there were also many injured people.

As I write this on the night of Sunday the 28th, it's not raining at the moment, but the skies are still covered with clouds and the weather forecast is for storm conditions to return.

Oh, what a Christmas!

Saludos amig@s,

Carloz

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