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Storm Ahead! – Were the IPMA at Fault?

The Portuguese Institute of Atmosphere and Sea (IPMA) has confirmed that they did not foresee such a heavy concentration of rain on Christmas Day, especially on the north of the island, where citizens were left at the mercy of the torrential rain.

However, when the President of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, was asked about the IPMA’s apparent failure, he countered by saying that “I don’t know what happened, but we are not looking for scapegoats. It was an exceptional concentration of rain. Older people do not remember having such heavy rainfall. Fortunately, it is a good thing that we have the highways, because if we didn’t, we would have a very serious situation, as roads would have been blocked by landslides, isolating sections of the population.”

The President continued by saying “What is needed now is to complete a survey of the damage.  For the moment we need to unblock roads, shore up areas that are in danger of collapse, guarantee the security of the movement of people and goods, and undertake a survey, which is already underway, of material damages, mainly of housing, and then, on Monday start channeling support.”

When confronted by media reports that the orange weather warning was inappropriate, Victor Prior of the Madeiran delegation of the IPMA said “Extreme weather conditions such as this are always highly unpredictable, and on this occasion the rain was much heavier than expected.” However, he did acknowledge that the warning issued to Madeira should have been red and not yellow, but stressed that, in the case of forecasts, these are fallible.

Perhaps this was just Mother Natures way of reminding us that SHE is in charge!

Samantha Gannon

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