The Garachico Coastal Flood Early Warning System, which has been working on since the end of 2018, has meant a very important advance for the northern town in anticipating the storms that periodically flood the avenue and, on occasions, cause significant damage to public and private property. The scare of December 24, 2021, when the waves jumped onto the road without warning, it set off alarm bells and raised new questions. In a recent meeting between the mayor of Garachiquense, Jose Heriberto Gonzalez (CC), and the Deputy Minister for Ecological Transition and the Fight against Climate Change of the Government of the Canary Islands, Miguel Angel Perez (PSOE), the regional administration expressed its commitment to continue improving this pioneering alert system.
Joseph Heriberto Gonzalez held a virtual meeting with Pérez and the technical team that is working on this early warning system, “created to predict as accurately as possible the maritime storms that affect the winter seasons Garachico». At this meeting, the local government of what happened on December 24, when no public body could anticipate the risk of rising seas. “They explained to us that it was a completely unusual situation and that the pertinent information has already been entered so that the models contemplate it and it does not happen again,” celebrates the president.
“The system that is being used in Garachico It is the same one that is used in the ports of Barcelona or Ferrol. Now improvements are going to be implemented and it has to continue to be adjusted, but we are guaranteed that it is one of the most cutting-edge in Spain”, González emphasizes. Apart from the improvement in the alert system, the aforementioned ministry also considers “the development of short and medium-term projects that serve to improve the safety conditions of the maritime avenue in the face of these maritime storms.” An old claim of Garachiquense City Hall It is the reform of the entire drainage system, to facilitate the evacuation of the water that occasionally floods it.
The technicians point out that on Christmas Eve there was a “completely unusual” situation
The early warning system is a joint effort that has involved the public company Cartografía de Canarias SA (Grafcan); the Ministry of Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning of the Canary Islands Government, and the Institute of Environmental Hydraulics of the University of Cantabria, with the collaboration of the City Council and the Garachico Local Police. It was launched at the end of 2018 and since then it has shown on several occasions that it is capable of reliably predicting most wave risk situations.
The prediction models already include what happened at the end of 2021 “to avoid a repeat”
This system is constantly being updated and began with extensive documentation work to obtain a historical inventory of theThe main episodes of floods suffered by Garachico in the last 50 years. This information was crossed with the database of the state of the sea in each of the days of the last half century, which is kept in the University of Cantabria, and that offers key data for experts such as the height, direction or frequency of the waves in each area.
To these historical data have been added in the last three years those derived from the real observation collected by the wave and current measurement, popularly known as “the control buoy”; a high definition and ultra sensitivity camera (for night vision), and the collaborators of the project. The prediction model is fed by direct observation and through the camera, which allows it to be increasingly accurate and offer a fairly high degree of success. The ruling of December 24 will also serve to do so even more reliable in the future.