We have spoken with a meteorologist to understand how it is possible that the Cold Drop always catches us unprepared.
It rains in the Levant. It rains. The Cold Drop has already left three dead, has flooded dozens of homes and infrastructure and is overflowing rivers as they pass through Murcia and Alicante. The Murcia Civil Protection emergency coordinator, Chema Gil, said that “this cold drop is historical and that something like this had not been seen in dozens of years “.
However, DANAS (Isolated Depression at High Levels) or Cold Drops are not a novelty. Almost every year, the end of summer ends with torrential rains in the east of the peninsula and the Balearic Islands. How is it possible that the same improvisational scenes are always repeated? Why are we not prepared for what, by all accounts, seems inevitable?
Are we facing the largest Cold Drop in decades?
“We tend to qualify these episodes too early that you have to first wait for the episode to finish because it has not ended of course “, says Emilio Rey, director of DigitalMeteo.” I like the headlines during the episode when they are informative “
Indeed, it seems that “there are some places where records will be passed, but not in others“For example,” it seems that in Orihuela the amount of precipitation collected in one day will be exceeded. Maybe the pickup in an hour. But perhaps what happened in the Pantanada de Tous is not exceeded many years ago that more than a thousand liters per square meter were collected in two or three days. ”
“Let’s wait for it to finish and then rate. I believe that during an episode the information has to be useful, not spectacular. Afterwards, we start doing spectacular things and qualify. When the episode ends we will see if it has been stronger than another because there is a lot of data that can be measured and compared ”
How is it possible that something that happens (almost) every year takes us by surprise?
Rambla Las Higuericas pic.twitter.com/vtG6dHrUuy
– Joaquín Martínez (@jmartinezTV) September 13, 2019
The Cold Drop cannot be said to be a new phenomenon. It is something that fills the newscasts and news websites almost every year. “This type of phenomenon has a recurrence period of a certain time” – explains Rey. “Some occur every 20 years, others every 50 or 100 years. But we know that it will happen again. It has always happened and will continue to happen in the future because our situation on the planet and the circumstances of this time of year allow it. No it will happen every year but it will happen “
So how is it possible that the same problems keep repeating over and over again? Shouldn’t we be prepared? “Of course I do, what happens is that people have a very short meteorological memory“. We have talked about it on other occasions, we get used to the new normal very quickly and, then, citizens and administrations” think that it will not happen to them again until there is no turning back. “
So “of course all infrastructures should be prepared.” “You cannot build on riverbeds. You also have to keep them clean and this involves an effort that you may have to do in July or August, or every three months.” Long-term plans are needed and are usually complicated expenses to defend before the public opinion.
You have to invest in infrastructure, but not only in infrastructure
However, despite the importance of infrastructure, there is always ” an amount of precipitation from which there will be problems even with well-prepared infrastructures. “For this reason, it is not only a question of hardware, but also of software, of how we communicate alerts and how prepared the population is to act in the face of an event of this type.
The worse the infrastructure is prepared, the worse the damage will be. But “if a liter per square meter falls per minute that is torrential. There is no one who can handle it. It is stupid and now it is falling much more in many places.” “I’m not telling you that in many places the situation could not have been improved, but in others it could not“, clarifies Rey.
In recent years, there is a certain tendency to try to gain precision in this type of meteorological communication. Hence, for example, we have started to hear about ‘DANAs’ instead of ‘Cold Drops’ or the arrival in our lives of “explosive cyclogenesis”. Nevertheless, To what extent do we gain in precision we lose in communicative effectiveness in front of the general public?
Just today, Mario Tascón, president of Fundeu, said that “clear communication is a right. Many of the misfortunes of people come from not speaking clearly.” And meteorological events such as these days seem like a good case study to reflect on whether not only our physical infrastructures, but also the communicative ones, need an overhaul.
Image | Josep Castells