by Irene Taylor
VARIOUS emergency departments and firms such as the power company Gesa-Endesa and the water board, Emaya, are preparing for the heavy rains and winds which usually hit the Mediterranean in the autumn.
The Balearic government is relying on its special plan, known as Plan Inunbal, which will be activated on September 1, to prevent serious flooding and other damage.
Miquel Gayá, the spokesman for the Balearic Weather Centre, said yesterday that the intense heat of last July “is one more ingredient” which could contribute to heavy rainfall in autumn, although he added it is not a determining factor, as many other factors have to be taken into consideration.
Gesa-Endesa will increase the number of workers on 24 hour stand-by from 60 to 80, so that they can go into action anywhere on the island “within minutes,” according to spokesman Joan Mayans.
He said that the extra staff would be kept on standby throughout the autumn, adding that they would be working in collaboration with the environment ministry which will provide them with maps of where lightning has struck after a storm.
Emaya workers have been concentrating on cleaning 23'500 rainwater drains and will also have extra staff on stand-by duty.
The Palma city council will centre its plan of action on the “black spots” where water accumulates after torrential rainfall.
This year, the environment ministry has spent 25.6 million euros on improving and cleaning up the torrentes or water courses to prevent flooding in villages, roads and fields. Most of the work has already been done.
According to the Weather Centre, one of the worst storms in the Balearics occurred on November 10 and 11, 2001.
On that occasion heavy rain, high winds and snow caused the death of five people and considerable material damage in houses, crops and boats and brought down thousands of trees.