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Anniversary of Tropical Storm Delta

The sky over the valley that morning of 28 November 2005

Tropical Storm Delta, perhaps the most important weather episode in the Canary Islands took place on 28 November 2005. A tropical storm had not touched the archipelago, at least during the 20th and 21st centuries, if we consider that the episode of December 1975 was indeed not such a phenomenon. The erratic and unusual weather phenomenon left a trail of destruction on the islands, especially Tenerife. Tropical storm Delta, which caused one death and four injuries as it passed through the Canary Islands, leaving more than 200,000 subscribers without electricity in the metropolitan area of ​​Tenerife and considerable material damage to urban centres and agriculture. The strong winds, up to 200 kilometres per hour, also caused the closure of ports and airports. The storm also wrecked a small boat 400 kilometres south of the islands, with some 50 immigrants on board: six of them died and 12 disappeared. 

At Izaña (Montaña de Izaña at an elevation of 2,177 metres in the Teide National Park), gusts of wind that reached speeds of 248 Km/h, say it all.

Fortunately, the storm did not pass directly over the islands nor leave significant precipitation. The archipelago only suffered the scourge of the tail of the storm and did not face the power of the eye of the beast, but it still caused chaos.

Delta, as far as intense winds are concerned, mainly affected El Hierro from the first hours of the morning of the 28th (the only island that it did not take by surprise because, days before, its president of the Cabildo, at that time Tomás Padrón, had already warned that the storm was approaching, although he was ignored), to La Palma, late in the afternoon, and to Tenerife and Gran Canaria at nightfall and in the early hours of the morning of the 29th.

Geography played a determining role in the intensity of the winds. The INM report states that "the complex orography of the islands conditioned and modulated the local effects of the intense winds, reaching the appearance of hurricane-like gusts." Technician Juan José Bustos pointed to another cause: an anomalous intensification of the Delta before reaching the Canary Islands. “The Hurricane Centre even recognizes that it could reach the category of a hurricane, although it does not certify it. That meant that although when it arrived in the Canary Islands it had almost completed its extratropical transition, it still had enough intensity to produce those effects.

Efemérides meteorológicas en Canarias del siglo XX y XXI: Parte IV

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