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