Deniers, too, of DANAs. The extreme episode that has touched and destroyed numerous parts of Spain in the last few hours does not convince everyone. And, after the worst hours of a phenomenon that has cost the lives of three people, has left three missing and multimillion-dollar damage in several regions, controversy arises. Was there too much notice from the AEMET? Why was a massive alert sent in Madrid without the people authorizing it? Was all that deployment really necessary?
Science answers: yes. And several of Spain’s prominent meteorologists explain why “we acted well even though later the weather was not as accurate as some want.” “If what you want is to know if on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. it is going to rain in Puerta del Sol, that cannot be known; yes, there was going to be torrential rains in the surroundings of Madrid, with rains of up to 200 liters some 50 kilometers from the capital”, begins by explaining Francisco Martín, the portal’s meteorologist Meteored and historic AEMET worker for three decades.
For this reason, the criticism of the state agency hurts, which placed the maximum alert in Madrid and Toledo for the weekend. A ‘red’ notice (extreme) that multiplied when on Sunday, around 2:00 p.m., a beep unhinged millions of people from Madrid. Shocked, we found out it was coming from our phone. A Civil Protection notice before a storm that was coming catastrophic in the capital and surroundings. The advice —almost a mandate— to stay at home, also transmitted by the mayor, Martínez-Almeida. However, hours later that storm that was unleashed with such viciousness in other points, did not finish in Madrid capital.
Did something really go wrong in Madrid?
By allusions, the first contact is with the AEMET itself. Sources from the entity confess to HuffPost being “saturated” with so many calls and so many critical messages, and with the same conviction they defend their “appropriate action” that served “to reduce risks.” All together, especially after hearing the mayor of Madrid throw ‘balls out’ and ask AEMET itself to “fine more”.
One of the meteorological spokespersons, José Luis Camacho, responded shortly after, justifying his protocol in light of the forecast of “rivers of precipitation of more than 100 liters in the area around the Community of Madrid and Toledo.” The reading at the end of Saturday is that up to 100 liters were accumulated in generic areas of the Community of Madrid, a warning for the entire Community,” he explained this Monday to It’s already noon (Telecinco).
“Then, during the day we were monitoring the rains and in the capital up to 40-50 liters were collected, but the DANA moved to the west and also to the south.” “But the prognosis that it was going to be very serious was very good,” he finished.
Such a storm in Madrid could endanger many lives. The alert is very well sent […] but you have to explain everything well because there were people who wondered if their lives were in danger at that very moment. We will learn from this situation
Francisco Martín, meteorologist Meteored
A few kilometers of deviation, those that separate the capital from the most affected points, which fit the logic of a sudden and extreme episode. “In meteorology, those kilometers mark everything and it is especially seen in phenomena like DANA. It has never been unusual for it to rain at your house and not rain in the next town,” he comments. Mar Gomez.
The meteorologist responsible for the time is and PhD in Physics admits the movement of ‘the worst’ as expected. “Torrential rains of up to 150-200 liters were expected and there have been, but in the western and southern areas, not in the capital itself. A DANA is something mobile, it is not fixed and you cannot predict from hours away how it will happen. will move with 100% accuracy”.
For this reason, the well-known popularizer continues, “you have to know what we are talking about.” “Yesterday I was following the evolution on maps in real time and there it is easy to see how it is moving, but if you want to send an alert you have to anticipate and put yourself in the worst; the models gave rise to a possible catastrophe in the entire community and area south. Not only the capital, but obviously it is not as easy to mobilize small populations like an entire metropolis like Madrid”.
“If they tell you that tomorrow there will be a 95% chance of a tsunami on your beach, why don’t you go? But 95% is never 100%; a 100% probability with that margin in advance is impossible and here We could say that there was a very, very high percentage that DANA touched Madrid and it has been fulfilled, but at a geographical level the capital is only a small point”, concludes Mar Gómez in this regard.
Martín does not see any flaws either, for whom the key was in the discharge of the “squall lines, very organized storm lines and the most active ones fell towards the south and west of the capital.” He rules out talking about ‘gaps’ as has been said, explaining that “it was expected that these lines could cross the capital and some touched Madrid. It rained heavily, not a lot, although we know that in Madrid some rain is always chaos.” That tragic chaos did occur at other points with rainfall of 100 and 200 liters, which was expected.”
Was that disturbing alert to mobile phones necessary?
For Mar Gómez, despite how annoying it could be, “it was well managed, because everyone wanted to find out and everyone found out. The one who had the cell phone nearby, the one who had it in his bag, the coat. …”. “Things can be outlined, but the message was direct, clear and few people will not have found out.”
By the way, he responds to another of the most recurring criticisms of these hours. “The data has not been stolen from us, it was sent through a cell phone detection system in the region,” something that agrees with the story defended by Emergencies 112, from which it is justified that the system “uses radio frequency to send a message indiscriminately”.
Even so, the meteorologist believes that another element could be added, because “not everyone has a cell phone.” “Think about older people; maybe a call on television or a sign during the movie or game warning of the alert would be nice.” Still, it’s clear. She asks “not to speak from ignorance.” “I’m telling you, those alerts have prevented movements, more risks and the loss of more lives.”
If you want to send an alert you have to anticipate and put yourself in the worst; the models gave rise to a possible catastrophe in the entire community and southern area. Not only the capital
Mar Gómez, meteorologist the time is
“If these warnings are not given, which someone will see excessive, the personal misfortunes would have been greater. A storm like this in Madrid could pose a danger to many lives. The alert is very well sent,” resumes Francisco Martín.
The person responsible for Meteored It does put ‘buts’ in the how. “Yesterday was proof of something that Europe is looking for. The EU has been wanting to promote an alert project like this for some time; the AEMET has been asking for it for a long time, although I was surprised by the procedure of this alert,” he explains.
Although he did not receive it because he was not in the capital, he acknowledges that “more disclosure is needed; everything must be explained well because there were people who wondered if their lives were at risk at that very moment.” And he asks to take note. “We are going to learn from this situation and sociologists, researchers have to study if this is the method, everyone beeping at the same second, that sound… but I reiterate, command is very well commanded.”
What does not happen in Madrid has not happened
The experts consulted by HuffPost and AEMET itself assume that part of the commotion has come “because it is Madrid”. “Rivers have overflowed, towns have been evacuated, roads have been destroyed, people have died and disappeared, a child spent the night climbing a tree… if this is not to alert the population… but since it is not has complied 100% in Madrid, as denialist criticism arrives,” laments the meteorologist.
“That idea has taken hold that since it has not rained in the center, it has not rained and the alert was unnecessary. And it should be remembered that it has not rained (so much) in Puerta del Sol, but it has in many places nearby”, resumes Mar Gomez.
When the politician has not lived up to the circumstances in something meteorological, he always looks at the element of the warning chain, which is usually AEMET
Francisco Martín Meteored meteorologist and former AEMET worker
Pull from recent memory and arrive at a ‘key’ name in the meteorological story of recent years. Philomena. She maintains that “then there was no alert system and the forecast was 100% accurate… No one was congratulated.”
“What if someone now can not take a new alert seriously if there is one? They can, but that is our task, to inform and disseminate” And, true to his style, he adds another task: “Notify when it really touches, because If everything had happened in the worst scenario, the situation would have been much more dramatic”.
From what could have been to what fortunately was not at all. A few chaotic hours in which the mayor has gone from asking to “stay at home” to criticizing the AEMET, in line with the Andalusian president, Juanma Moreno, and against what was defended by the Madrid president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. She insists on the appropriateness of the alerts. Nothing new under the sun, Francisco Martín suggests, drawing on his experience in the matter.
“I, who have been at AEMET for three decades, know it well. When the politician has not lived up to the circumstances in something meteorological, he always looks at the element of the warning chain, which is usually AEMET. Those tag lines to slip away from his responsibility… On Sunday the mayor acted accordingly to what could come. What is not admissible is what he declared later, but I’m telling you it’s something typical… of one color and another, for the record”, culminates.