May rains spell end to drought

A remarkable and fortuitous month of rain in May has put an end to the drought affecting much of Spain, and in particular in Catalonia, where the much-publicised and criticised plan to transfer water from the Ebro to Barcelona is to be shelved. Overall for Spain, this has been the rainiest May since 1971, and the third wettest since 1940, with an average of 115 l/m2 across the country (1971 and 1984 recorded 124 and 115, respectively). Some areas have seen much longer records broken. For instance, Roquetas (Tarragona) has recorded the wettest May since 1880, leading to flooding along stretches of the Ebro. There has also been serious flooding in recent days further west along the Ebro Depression and in the Basque Country. Crops in some areas have been ruined. As the Spanish saying goes Nunca llueve a gusto de todos.

Reservoirs across Spain are now at 59.3% of their capacity. The reservoirs of the “internal basins” of Catalonia, which supply Barcelona, have doubled their capacity in less than two months to 53%. Various sources including El Mundo

We’ve heard another weather expression a lot in recent weeks, testament to the rains: Hasta el cuarenta de mayo no te quites el sayo. (Until the 40th of May, don’t take your coat off)- N’er cast a clout till may be out, as they once said in English.

Update: Heavy rains have continued in some areas into June. The Guardian reported on this story and the effects of rain the Zaragoza Expo

Expo2008: Rain in Spain causes Zaragoza to complain

Organisers of international water festival find their grand opening hampered by heavy rainfall

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