I’m in Madrid for a few days for meetings etc., and am horrified to be reminded just how much chaos the rain causes in what is, after all, a first world capital city.
I’d already seen the first major rains of the season which I wrote about in Change in the Weather, but it doesn’t get any better.
This morning the newspapers are full of the news: 130 km of traffic jams, the emergency services inundated with calls, and a woman killed after being swept away by the floods in Coslada. (Not a little old lady, either, a 55-year-old. According to the report in the Madrid edition of the Metro newspaper, “abrieron la puerta de su casa para que saliera el agua que la estaba anegando hasta metro y medio” and the flood carried her away.)
Every time it rains salen las sirenas – the sirens, I mean, not the mermaids – the fachadas de los edificios start to desprenderse, (never take shelter from the rain under an overhanging façade in Spain: you’re better off getting wet than being killed by crumbling masonry), the blocked drains spit back the muck and rubbish that has accumulated over the dry season, and the metro and M30 tunnels – even the tunnels that were newly built within the last couple of years – develop major leaks.
And, almost inevitably, the water supply fails. Yes, to add insult to injury, this morning we have water flooding everywhere, but none coming out of the tap.