The sun’ll come out… tomorrow! Well, that’s what my trusty little iPhone weather app tells me, and even as I look out my windows now, there’s sunshine peeking through the clouds. Damn. I was really enjoying that gloom and doom of the past few days. I do love Ibiza in the rain. I find it so calming, so beautiful, so inspiring. Anyway, it seems I’ve still got just enough time to write my annual blog about Ibiza’s downpours before the heatwave returns… and as I gaze back over the previous years’ rain-themed entries, I couldn’t help but wonder. Is August actually Ibiza’s own version of a ‘wet season’? Albeit mighty brief? Every year the island gets absolutely hammered by electrical storms, biblical downpours and suffers severe damages at the hands of Mother Nature… and every year, we seem totally shocked and surprised!
Shouldn’t we start taking notes of the annual storms and predict the next year’s big hit, preparing ahead to protect our properties and businesses, stay indoors and off the roads and just sit back and marvel at the sheer wonder of it, rather than flail around in shock and react to the damage? It’s all well and good for me to say this now. Yesterday I spent a grand total of two hours and 40 minutes INSIDE MY CAR for the duration of said storm. I’d offered to drive Mr D – who only has a scooter and was thus rendered transportless in the rain – from Es Cavallet through to a quick pit stop Ibiza town and then onto Bambuddha. A trip that should take no more than an hour, TOPS. And yet there I was, in gridlock like I have never, ever seen before, while the water in the streets was rising to flood level and causing many cars to break down, or worse, crash.
It was chaos like nothing I have ever seen before in Ibiza. All the way there and back. So at least I wasn’t the only one. People talk about the infrastructure of the island not being able to cope with the influx of tourists in peak season, but I think we need to start worrying about the influx of water. At least all those extra people can help us scoop buckets of water out of our flooded basements! According to Spanish State Meteorological Agency, AEMET (and another lovely website who kindly shared this fact with me earlier!), a total of 37.4 litres of rain fell per square metre over the course of the day yesterday with a maximum intensity of 108 litres per square metre. Just think of that in terms of those huge five litre bottles you buy in the Eroski, stacked up in all the corners of your house/villa/hotel/apartment… that’s a whole lotta water! When I finally got home (frazzled is an understatement), a quick scroll through my Facebook news feed showed the carnage that had taken place whilst I’d been holed up in the car.
Many of the shops in Ibiza’s shopping district, La Marina, had flooded, as had the bars in the port, many needing the assistance of the fire department to pump the water OUT to avoid damaging electrics. The tunnel on the way from Ibiza town to the airport was officially closed, as it became an unofficial waterslide. The seawater at Talamanca rose completely to the shore, reaching the restaurants and walkway – and matching the depth of the nearby flooded road. Outdoor venues were forced to close as it was too dangerous to continue operating. Luxe villas were all without power. Drains and sewage systems were exploding everywhere (ick). The canals by Pacha had swollen to the size of a rough river. Trees were falling down, the stone walls of Dalt Vila were creating mini-avalanches onto parked cars and the surrounding rocky hillside of Los Molinos was coming down like a landslide. And of course, all those posh superyachts I so love were rendered virtually useless. And that was just in a matter of hours! It wasn’t all bad of course.
I also saw pics of tourists floating through the flooded streets of Bossa on their fluoro lilos with beer, making the most of he mayhem. I saw many an island worker gloating that they could finally take a day off in busy August as their venues were closed for a night. Much to my amusement, I still saw people swimming and taking selfies. I saw amateur photographers become household names overnight due to lucky storm snaps. And, best of all, I can imagine the island’s dry landscape springing back to life and lush greenery, our empty reservoirs filling with water and our farmers finally happy. So – will we learn from the storms of last night and today? Will we patch up our damages and just get back to business as usual? Or will we remember to protect against the inevitable downpours next summer before their arrival? Err, and should we warn the holidaymakers who spend all their hard earned cash on August holidays? Only time will tell… watch this space next year! In the meantime – enjoy Ibiza’s 300 OTHER days of sunshine!