Storm Gloria batters Spain and France

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

Storm Gloria batters Spain and France
Date & Time
20 January 2020 10:00 UTC–21 January 14:00 UTC. 26 and 27 January 10:00 UTC
Meteosat-11, Sentinel-3
Airmass RGB, True Colour, Sea Surface Temperature

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.

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).

Figure 3
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).

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