The "Gota Fria"
The “gota fria” (literally translated: “cold raindrop”) is well known in the Marina Alta area. The last one hit the area on the 12th and 13th October 2007. Beniarbeig, Els Poblets and El Vergel were flooded when the Girona River burst its banks after 400 mm of rain. In Benissa numerous roadside walls collapsed and Calpe suffered floods when the normally dry Quisi overflowed.
This meteorological phenomena is typical in the Mediterranean and various episodes have been registered throughout the years along the Spanish Mediterranean coastal area.
- In October 1957 the Turia River overflowed and flooded Valencia. It is said, although not confirmed, that Javea registered on the 2nd October 1957 817 mm of rain.
- In September 1962 there were floods in Barcelona caused by the Llobregat and Besos rivers and in Castellón when the Rambla de la Viuda overflowed.
- In October 1982, the dam at the Tous reservoir, in the Jucar valley, partially collapsed flooding the La Ribera region of Valencia.
- In November 1987 500 mm of rain fell in the Safor region of Valencia. Oliva registered 817 mm, a record of maximum rainfall.
- In October 2000, with rainfalls of 600 mm, Castellón and the north of Valencia were affected by the flooding of the Palancia, Veo and Mijares rivers.
The “gota fría” occurs when, at the end of the summer there is a contrast between the temperature of the sea and the cold polar air. The warm air rises rapidly to form a humid mass of low pressure or cyclone at high altitude that moves towards land and, on cooling down, causes the phenomena. In the Marina Alta the mountains create a barrier which is why the rain storms occur along the coast.
Apart from causing floods the “gota fría” usually generates strong winds of up to 150 k.p.h. provoking damages inland to trees and buildings. The phenomena also causes storms at sea with waves that damage beaches, promenades, and boats moored in the ports.
Gentle rain falls, those that sink in to the earth gradually and are welcomed by farmers, hardly ever occur in this area. Here the rainy seasons occur in autumn from September to November and in spring between February and May. The rain normally falls only for a few days but very heavily.
The rains that accompany the easterly strong winds are usually very heavy in the area where the sources of the Gorgos and Girona rivers, and the wells that supply water to Benissa, can be found. The porosity of the land means that the rain water quickly reaches the aquifers and after a “gota fria” the recuperation of water levels is spectacular. On the other hand the lack of rain can result in an important drop in the level of water in the aquifers, something that is known as a drought.
AFTER THE RAIN
After the rain:
Suns between the clouds and in the streams,
Sweets of almonds and of hazel-nuts,
Honeyed dates and hot bread.
After the rain:
My mother, my brothers and sisters
And our house of clay,
Our white doves.
After the rain:
Coloured rainbows of peace,
Without arms, without president.
After the rain,
... after the rain.
Muhsin Al Ramli