Storm Gloria batters Spain and France

Storm Gloria batters Spain and France

20 January 2020 10:00 UTC–21 January 14:00 UTC. 26 and 27 January 10:00 UTC

Storm Gloria batters Spain and France
Storm Gloria batters Spain and France

Storm Gloria brought significant wind and rain to parts of Spain and France on 20 and 21 January 2020.

Last Updated

08, December 2020

By Mark Higgins and Hayley Evers-King (EUMETSAT), Sancha Lancaster (Pactum), Aida Alvera Azcarate (University of Liege), Antonio Vecoli (MEEO)

A low pressure system developed over the Mediterranean Sea, developing significantly over night on 20/21 January. This brought significant wind and rain to areas of southern Spain, the Balearic Islands and France, leading to localised flooding and wind damage. Massive waves and storm surges were also recorded — according to the Spanish experts the storm generated a record-breaking significant wave height of 8.44 m (27.69 feet) off the city of Valencia.

 Met-11 Airmass RGB, 21 January 09:00 UTC
Figure 1: Met-11 Airmass RGB, 21 January 09:00 UTC

Météo France commented that such storms are common in autumn, when the water is much warmer, but rare in winter. At least nine people were reported to have been killed by the stormy conditions.

The storm can be clearly seen on the Meteosat-11 Airmass RGB (Figure 2) as it travelled over southern Spain on 20 and 21 January.

 
Figure 2: Meteosat-11 Airmass RGB animation, 20 Jan 10:00 UTC–21 Jan 14:00 UTC

After the storm, clear impacts could be seen in the ocean waters surrounding the coast of Spain. Suspended sediments (likely the result of a combination of flood water run-off and re-suspension by wind and waves) could be seen in a True Colour image from the Sentinel-3 OLCI instrument on 27 January (Figure 3).

 Sentinel-3 OLCI True Colour, 27 January, 10:00 UTC
Figure 3: Sentinel-3 OLCI True Colour, 27 January, 10:00 UTC
 

A cold water signature (again possibly associated to flooding run off) could also be seen in an image of sea surface temperature from the SLSTR instrument aboard the same satellite, on 26 January (Figure 4).

 Sentinel-3 SLSTR Sea Surface Temperature, 26 January, 10:00 UTC
Figure 4: Sentinel-3 SLSTR Sea Surface Temperature, 26 January, 10:00 UTC
 

Related content

 

Nine provinces on red alert as Storm Gloria sweeps across Spain (The Local)
Storm Gloria generates the biggest wave ever recorded in the Mediterranean (Surfer Today)
Deadly Storm Gloria sends huge waves smashing into Mallorca (YouTube/ The Telegraph)
Storm Gloria satellite imagery on Twitter (María Traver)
Deadly storm Gloria batters Spain, then shifts to France (BBC News)
Roads closed and power cut as Storm Gloria hits France (The Connexion)