Storm loses strength but Home Affairs warns "danger still exists"

At midday there are still 6,360 houses without electricity, some of them since yesterday

The recommendation of the emergency teams is the same as it has been during the last two days: it is best not to leave the house. The storm Filomena is easing, even faster than expected in some areas, but, as the Minister of Home Affairs, Miquel Sàmper, has warned, "the danger still exists". The people in charge of the emergency services appeared at midday today to explain the latest incidents and what the forecast is for the next few hours.

In general terms, the situation is tending to return to normal. "The snow has slackened", Sàmper said. But in some regions it will still continue to snow. This morning, as explained by the director of the Meteorological Service of Catalonia, Eliseu Vilaclara, snow continued to fall inside Tarragona, in the Terres de l'Ebre and the Western Pyrenees, and in the morning it also snowed in the Ponent regions. Snow will continue to fall in the same areas and also in the Anoia and Segarra, but in general the snow level will climb and the snowfall will turn into rain. Looking ahead into the night and the early hours of the morning, "the snow will be weaker and weaker", according to Vilaclara, who is confident that tomorrow the storm will be over. However, the person in charge of predictions has warned that the snow will be melting and this will cause "minimum temperatures to be very cold at night". In fact, he spoke of "extreme minimum temperatures".

The other risk comes from the wind. The warning of the Ventcat plan has already been deactivated, "but this does not mean that there is no wind", Sàmper insisted, and it must be taken into account that gusts of wind can make tree branches fall, especially if they are full of snow. Finally, regarding the sea, the situation is still worrying, although "the worst episodes have already occurred this morning", especially in the Delta de l'Ebre. The warning for bad sea continues to be activated.

Citizens in the dark

Right now, one of the consequences of the storm that is of most concern to the emergency services is the number of citizens who have lost their electricity. The director of the Emergency Management Service, Montse Font, explained that there are still 6,360 subscribers in the dark and she regretted that there have also been 25 telephone incidents, 8 from landlines, which is worrying since in some cases this is how telecare is offered. One of the municipalities that has suffered most from the power cuts has been Falset, since the problems began last night. Slowly, however, homes have been getting the power back. Currently, the most affected municipalities are Agramunt (with 689 subscribers without electricity), Arnes (530), Marçà (465), l'Ametlla de Mar (407) and Palamós (223). In Arnes, according to Font, two generators were already arriving behind the snowplough.

Although most of the consequences of the storm are diminishing, in the case of mobility this is not the case. If at eight o'clock in the morning there were 13 roads cut, at two o'clock in the afternoon there were already 17. As for the roads where you have to drive with chains, if at eight o'clock there were 96, at noon there were already 160, as explained by Lourdes Puigbarraca, deputy director of the Catalan Traffic Service. Most of the incidents are concentrated between Lleida (5 closed and 99 with chains) and Tarragona (8 closed and 34 with chains). There are also incidents in Girona (3 cut) and in Barcelona (1 cut and 6 with chains).

As far as heavy goods vehicles are concerned, Commissioner Joan Carles Molinero explained that they are already allowed to drive on the AP-7, AP-2, A-2 and C-25 and it will remain as such as long as the weather allows. According to Molinero, there are 1,500 trucks waiting to pass through to France. During this morning, the Mossos have sanctioned 15 cars in Montserrat and 7 more in the Montseny for skipping the municipal lockdown due to the covid-19. Molinero has regretted that by disobeying these prohibitions "they put at risk their integrity and also that of the emergency services", currently working to restore normalcy.

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