Sant Llorenç

Aftermath of the floods.

10-10-2018EFE

Aemet is not commenting on political statements about its role in the Sant Llorenç disaster, but the agency is annoyed at having been singled out. It has asked if other public bodies are undertaking the same type of internal review that it already is.

The minister for public administration, Catalina Cladera, attributed to the tragedy to a combination of the exceptional weather conditions, i.e. the unprecedented rainfall, and a failure in Aemet's risk warnings.

Aemet's María José Guerrero accepted immediately that there had been a failure and that a review would be carried out. The agency, it is understood, is unhappy that statements were being made before it had the chance to publish the findings of the review.

Those findings have now been issued. Aemet says that current procedures were followed, that personnel acted with professionalism and that the warnings were revised on three occasions. The agency accepts, however, that although the general meteorological situation was forecast accurately, its models did not identify local effects. The existing technology, according to Aemet, "does not allow the prediction of localisation or the exact intensity of the precipitation of an exceptional weather phenomenon as occurred in the Llevant (region of the Majorca)".

The automatic weather stations are more oriented towards climatological observation than to the monitoring of adverse phenomena. Therefore, data are on occasions delayed and this "makes it difficult to take decisions with greater rapidity".

Aemet concludes that, given the context of climate change, an increase in the intensity and frequency of adverse meteorological conditions can be expected, especially in areas such as the Mediterranean. For this reason, the updating and improvement of forecasting and monitoring systems is urgent.