Weather Woes

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 25-09-2014 14:44:00 · 1 Comments
Weather Woes

The old Portuguese saying ‘Setembro molhado, figo estradago’ (Wet September, spoiled figs) will certainly have sprung to many a mind this week after the first heavy rains of the year caused widespread damage across the country and turned vast swathes of agricultural land into boggy swamps, killing production and resulting in substantial financial losses.

Heavy rain on Monday this week caused flooding in several places from north to south of Portugal and left many farmers holding their heads in dismay.
One of the areas worst hit by Monday’s intense rainfall – which missed coinciding with the first day of autumn by 24 hours – was the Lisbon district, where six millimetres of rain was registered in ten minutes at the Geofísico weather station.
At the nearby Gago Coutinho station, 17.3 millimetres of rain was registered in one hour.
According to the Portuguese Met Office (IPMA), “such large rainfall values” were due to the “accumulation of strong convective cells in specific localised areas and with temporal persistence, resulting in irregular distribution of precipitation, particularly in the Greater Lisbon area.”
But, the IPMA added, “Similar phenomena occurred elsewhere in the Portuguese territory.”
The rain has had devastating effects on farmers and producers across the country.
Estimates by the Inter-professional Association of Horticulture in the Western region (AIHO) are that of the 500 hectares of land that have been affected in Lourinhã, near Lisbon, around one hundred hectares of crops, mostly on the floodplains of Rio Grande, have been completely destroyed.
The head of the association also said that the majority of the farmers of those 500 hectares do not have insurance.
“Some [plots] were left with damaged crops, others that were being prepared for new plantations now cannot be sown because of the state of the soil, and others saw strong landslides and entrainment which in some cases caused trenches to open”, António Gomes explained.
Of the hundred hectares that have been “completely destroyed”, the produce ruined ranged from broccoli to different varieties of cabbage and potatoes.

It has been estimated that between two and three thousand tonnes of vegetables have been lost in that area alone.
Wine production was also affected after vines in the Lourinhã area were stripped of their grapes by the intense rainfall.
The Lourinhã Cooperative Winery was also damaged and flooded in the downpour.
Farmers in Setúbal have warned that between 15 and 20 percent of their tomato production has been wiped out by Monday’s tempest.
The Setúbal District Farmers’ Association AADS has said that it will be asking the Government for help to compensate the losses in tomato production, which saw some 30 hectares of land being “practically lost because of the bad weather.”
A spokesperson for the association said “dozens of tonnes of tomatoes” have been left to ruin after the land on which they were growing became inaccessible to farmers, “and those tomatoes will rot quickly.”
Avelino Antunes said the losses caused by the bad weather mostly affected tomato producers in Montijo and Palmela who, over the past 20 years, have struggled against successive increases in production costs.
“Production costs have increased greatly but the cost-price of tomatoes is today the same as what it was 20 years ago. It is no coincidence that today there are only around 30 of the 500 tomato growers that there were 20 years ago”, he pointed out.
Furthermore, farmers from the lower-Aletenjo region of Serpa have said they are worried about the consequences of this month’s precipitation on corn and olive production.
But the damage and chaos caused by the rain at the start of this week wasn’t limited to rural farmland.
In Lisbon the heavy downpours gridlocked traffic on Monday afternoon, causing delays to the underground system and forcing citizens to dash for cover all over the Portuguese capital.
The worst-affected areas were Benfica, São Domingos de Benfica, Praça de Espanha, Praça da Figueira, Martim Moniz, Avenida da Liberdade, Alta de Lisboa and Alcântara.
In Xabregas the rain caused a wall to collapse and the Portuguese Cancer Institute was flooded.
Civil Protection authorities reported that a series of 221 bad weather related incidents required their intervention.
Six people were left homeless following floods in Lourinhã caused by heavy rainfall on Monday night. Lourinhã Mayor João Duarte Cavalho said the three families whose homes were in the heart of the town were temporarily re-housed in local council properties.
The town centre was left covered in mud following the flood and took days to clean up.
In the wake of the country’s weather woes the Green Party (PEV) has appealed for “some thought” to be given “not only to the flaws in civil protection” that were noted, but also to the preparation of the country with regards to climate change.”
The environmentalist Party said Monday’s disruptive conditions raise “substantive issues” and highlight “political weaknesses” in areas such as civil protection and transport for such situations.
“Populations are increasingly at risk and the country is becoming economically impoverished as well as becoming poorer with regards to its biodiversity”, the Party concluded.



Comments:

100% Green and 100% Clean. All sectors must be involved in this and all will gain as a result!

by Simon from UK on 26-09-2014 03:51:00
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