TORRENTIAL rain and thunder storms claimed the life of a 60-year-old man and caused widespread chaos in the Balearics yesterday and more heavy downpours are forecast over the next few days. Over 3'000 people were hit by yet more power cuts yesterday afternoon in Majorca after many households across the region suffered black outs in the early hours. Power company GESA said yesterday that the main problem was caused by a fault in the power line between the LLucmajor and Campos substation at around 3pm. According to GESA, by 6pm, 80 percent of the power supply has been restored to its clients in Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza.
GESA said that lightning caused the disruptions in Ibiza and Minorca and that in many cases, the power was restored automatically after just a brief black out. A spokesperson for GESA said that, considering the extreme weather, the minor power cuts which hit various parts of the island in the early hours, were normal. Nevertheless, the company's engineers have been put on alert in order to immediately deal with any further incidents over the next few days.
But apart from power cuts, yesterday's torrential rain caused traffic chaos in most parts of the island with the fire service spending most of the day pumping out basements and underground car parks. Director of the Balearic met office, Agustí Jansá, said yesterday evening that, from 8am onwards, rain fell on Palma, one of the areas worst hit, at a steady rate of 31 litres per square metre. Palma City Councillor for Infrastructure, Catalina Terrassa, said that areas of the district worst hit by the rain were the Borne in the city centre, Arenal and the ferry port. The sea front in Arenal always suffers serious problems when it rains heavily with the front lined by basement bars and shops.
Fire fighters and water board engineers worked throughout the afternoon pumping out the flooded basement businesses in Arenal while the owners started assessing the cost of the damage. High flood water made part of calle Aragon inaccessible because part of the drains are still being built and have yet to be connected to the mains while part of Palma City Hall was flooded. Catalina Terrassa explained that an empty can was blocking one of the water run-offs from a balcony and caused a major build up of water which eventually burst through into the building. Elsewhere in Palma, according to operators at the 112 emergency centre, 49 serious flooding incidents were dealt with, the majority in Palma.
In Marratxi, a 60-year-old Argentine male driver died after being involved in a traffic accident on the Palma to Inca motorway near the commercial centre exit. The 061 emergency centre also reported three other traffic accidents yesterday morning, but no fatalities.
The Sierra de Alfabia, between Soller and Bunyola, was water logged yesterday afternoon, 37 litres of rain per square metre fell on the area while 24 litres per square metre was reported in Calvia and Inca. Over night, the Balearics was hit by 7.888 bolts of lightning, in particular Majorca and the north east of Minorca.
Little improvement in the weather is forecast for today with the region remaining on storm alert.
Temperatures will stay the same but the north easterly wind will be moderate to strong with gusts of 80 kilometres per hour expected in coastal regions.
THREE people were injured yesterday when the roof of a city centre supermarket collapsed in Palma.
The roof caved in just after 11am at a supermarket in Alejandro Fleming square sparking a major emergency operation involving the National Police, paramedics and the fire service. The apartments in the block above the store were evacuated.
Two of the injured were rushed to hospital by taxi while a third was taken by ambulance and paramedics treated a fourth person for an anxiety attack at the scene. Many of the customers and staff inside the store at the time the roof gave way rushed out on to the street in shock as local residents and passers by gathered to see what had happened and if any urgent help was needed. The supermarket and surrounding area was cordoned off by the police and an investigation was launched yesterday into the cause of the incident.
Accident investigators spent yesterday afternoon sifting through the debris in co-operation with structural engineers and Palma city council inspectors.