Tumultuous tides wreak havoc along coastline

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 08-01-2014 08:30:00 · 1 Comments
Tumultuous tides wreak havoc along coastline

A massive storm that brewed out over the Atlantic wreaked havoc in Portugal as waves reached as high as nine metres in some places, flooding villages, sweeping away vehicles and damaging beach structures up and down the country.

On Monday (6 January) the dangerously rough sea conditions saw swathes of Portugal’s coastline placed on red alert, the level of highest weather warnings. Forecasters have now warned that a repeat of this week’s stormy seas could be on the cards for the beginning of next week due the formation of several frontal systems of the coast of Canada.

On Tuesday the already weather-battered UK was also placed on red alert as the tempest reached its shores.

The stormy conditions at sea coupled with high tides unleashed coastal chaos in Portugal on Monday unlike anything seen for many years. The coastline from Viana do Castelo to Lisbon was on the highest level of weather alert, meaning the ocean’s fury posed ‘extreme risk’ to coastal dwellers.

While waves were unusually high in most of the country, central and northern Portugal saw alarming surges that had been forecast to reach sixteen metres.

Extensive damage was caused by the violent sea to coastal infrastructures and property along the shoreline from north to south of the country, escalating to thousands of euros in repairs.

In Costa da Caparica people were banned from walking along the boardwalk through fears of them being swept away by the large swells.

Further north, in Foz do Douro, Porto, two massive waves washed around 20 cars away from the beachfront area where they were parked, causing extensive damage to the vehicles and injuries to three people.

Those injured were treated for cuts, bruising and hypothermia.

The incident occurred at around 4pm at the castle crossroads near Ourigo beach.

Police immediately cut off a number of roads to prevent another incident from occurring and at least two main avenues remained closed until 10am the following morning.

A similar incident happened in Foz do Arelho, Caldas da Rainha, involving four cars.

Three shops near the beach in Póvoa de Varzim were damaged after the sea breached the seawall and reached the city’s roads, cutting traffic off along the Perafita seafront road.

In southern Portugal, quaint Algarvian coastal villages fared the worst, with flooding reaching worryingly high levels. Huge waves crashed against the region’s characteristic cliffs as the water pushed its way inland.

The fisherman’s village of Carvoeiro (Lagoa) saw its main square completely flooded and beach-side restaurant fronts destroyed.

Local resident Susan da Costa, who witnessed the ocean’s wrath on Monday, told The Portugal News “It was frightening. The waves were hitting the cliffs and the spray was actually reaching the top of the cliffs. It broke a wall and some terraces in the square. The sea came right up the road all the way to where the pharmacy is [about 100 metres inland] and it knocked bins over. People were literally running for their lives. And the noise was incredible; it scared us.”

Eyewitnesses also claim they saw a couple of young girls attempting to swim in the sea as the waves rolled in and required help to get out.

“One of them looked as if she wasn’t doing very well”, another local added.

Three large trucks were needed in the clean-up process the morning after, to remove the sludge and sand that was washed up.

A spokesperson from Lagoa Town Hall told The Portugal News that the nearby village of Ferragudo had also sustained significant damage from “the sea’s fury.”

“The sea’s fury towards humans caused damage on Pintadinho beach, where it reached the car park, on Caneiros beach, where the violence of the waves added around 1.5 metres of sand, on Praia Grande, where the constant advancing and retreating of the waves sucked sand away and left debris everywhere, right up to the wooden walkways, and the same happened but to a lesser degree on the beaches of Benagil, Vale de Centeanes, Algar Seco, Carvalho and Molhe – among others – damaging beach structures, namely restaurants”, Lagoa Town Hall said.

The cost to repair the damage, the council estimates, will be “very high.”

A little further along the southern coast, just west of Carvoeiro, damage was also caused by the rough surf to a lighthouse jetty in Portimão as well as to Portimão Marina and a number of restaurants along the well-known Praia da Rocha beach.

Speaking to Lusa News Agency Marina Correia, director of Portimão Marina, said Monday’s weather had been “completely abnormal.”

In the central Algarve, Southern Maritime authorities had to rescue a group of twelve youths from Quarteira beach after they decided to go for a swim in the rough surf despite the entire Portuguese coastline being on alert.

And the Alentejo did not emerge unscathed; two boats and a restaurant were damaged by the waves as was a third boat in Porto Covo, Sines.

A source from Beja’s search and rescue central (CDOS) told Lusa News Agency that the Vila Nova de Milfontes fishing port sustained damage to two boats as well as fishing equipment and nets, which were dragged out to sea by the waves.

A restaurant in that area was also smashed up by the force of the waves, as was a leisure fishing boat on the Porto Covo docks.

Twenty-four hours later, on Tuesday (7 January) the whole of England and Wales was placed on red alert due to flooding and heavy rain as the menacing Atlantic storm reached its shores.


Yet again no mention of the West coast of the Algarve!

by Stephanie Gray from Algarve on 08-01-2014 03:34:00
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