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Winter storms on the Costa Brava

After the last few days of intense storms that hit the Costa Brava, bringing heavy rains, high seas and strong winds to the coast, and snow and flooding rivers inland, this afternoon the sun came out giving everyone a chance to inspect the damage.

We headed to La Fosca for the walk to Castell with large waves rolling into the beach, bringing out surfers onto a sea that looks more Atlantic than Mediterranean. The debris from the high tides is scattered across the back of the promenade and the restaurants and bars are sweeping up the sand brought up by the water, with catcus plants that were washed off the nearby cliffs, scattered across the paseo route.

At Platja de Castell, the river Aube which, in summer, ends at the beach, has cut a deep swathe through the sand, splitting the beach in half. At the La Fosca end of the beach, the steps down from the rocks from the coastal path have been swept away, leaving the rear path as the only way onto the beach.

From news reports, we've seen pictures of the rivers breaking their banks, and damage to the sea front at Tamariu and Llafranc due to the high seas and waves, with this being the worst storm since we've been here. TV showed pictures of an innundation of foam into Tossa de Mar, and waves hitting the headland at L'Escala's Montgo and reaching 30m up the cliffs.

Girona has seen exceptionally high rivers, with the Ter breaking the banks at Pont Major. Similarly, the lake at Banyoles has overflowed, and Platja d'Espolla has filled due to the amount of rain.

The weather has caused lots of disturbances with schools closed and sea front businesses and houses damaged, and, unfortunately, a handful of fatalities. There's a ton of cleaning up to do, removing fallen trees, repairing embankments and, down in Blanes, replacing a railway bridge that was swept away. Winter always has some storms, so we hope this is the worst of it for this year.

Update Wed 29th Jan 2020

In addition to Platja de Castell we've been out to Gola de Ter where the storms have left lots of wood on the L'Estartit side and hundreds of volunteers have been out helping with the clear up. In Calella de Palafrugell today - it didn't seem on the surface too badly off. The boardwalk at Port Bo has been damaged and the promenade wall at the back of Canadell has been damaged (and is covered in deep sand).

However, Llafranc has suffered badly. There are two large holes cut out of the old promenade at the CdP end of the beach, and the retaining wall for the prom has been either washed away or has large cracks. It's going to take a fair bit of effort and money to repair. The recently refurbished sections of the promenade have held up OK, though the new wheelchair access routes to the beach have suffered a little.

Across the coasts of the Costa Brava, the local councils believe that the costs of repairs will require around €33 million to fully repair the damage.


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