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Posted by portugalpress on November 02, 2015

Sunday saw horrific scenes in Albufeira as torrential rains falling for almost 10 hours turned roads into rivers.

Today (Monday), as the mop-up operation begins in earnest, an elderly pensioner is still missing after the car he was in was found submerged in Boliqueime.

Elsewhere, houses, shops and garages have been flooded along with dozens of cars damaged by rising waters.

“This is a tragedy,” street salesperson Cristina Costa told television news teams. “I had a little stall in the bars street in Albufeira. I saw it all go in an instant. I have lost my business. I never imagined the waters could rise so suddenly.”

With mayor Carlos Silva e Sousa already opening an inquiry into what could have happened to cause such chaos, a local talking on SIC television news said: “Since the works undertaken by POLIS, things have been difficult.”

According to meteorologists, the horror was exacerbated by over a month’s equivalent of rain falling in the space of 10 hours.

From 5am to 2pm, as much as 102 litres per square metre battered the region, with the areas between Loulé and Albufeira coming off the worst.

Floods were also reported in Portimão, where an electrical short is understood to have sparked a fire in one building.

With a red weather alert in place throughout, people were advised to stay at home until the worst had passed.

High winds caused planes to be grounded at Faro airport, while the region’s fire and rescue services worked against the clock to respond to emergency calls.

What is becoming clearer this morning is that fire services could not cope with the calls coming in. The Resident has heard of a couple in Alcantarilha who called fire services on Sunday for help, and are still apparently waiting this morning, trapped in their home due to floodwater.

News reports yesterday showed people up to their necks in water in the ‘baixa’ district of Albufeira, as hundreds flocked to the vulnerable area of town to watch the devastation.

Diário de Notícias reports this morning that “hundreds of commercial establishments have been affected” with endless products seized by the force of floodwaters, from foods to home appliances.

Among the wreckage lie tables and chairs from bar terraces, as well as stones and debris.

Correio da Manhã reports that insurers are holding an emergency meeting this morning to evaluate damages, but initial estimates are that they could be facing claims running to “several millions of euros”.

Meantime, the force of the storms have passed, and are travelling north east as they lose intensity.

Meteorologist Manuel Costa Alves has explained the terrible weather was due to a “depression in an area of warm water, which caused evaporation and the formation of vertical clouds full of water”.

He stressed nonetheless that much of the consequences have to do with “uncontrolled building and economic interests, which have not taken into account the run-off of rainwaters”.

A report on SIC backed this thinking, saying many believed that what happened in Albufeira was destined to happen “sooner or later” as an area of the town had been built on top of land that habitually floods in bad weather.

As the authorities help in the huge clear-up ongoing this morning, more details are expected to emerge - both as to damages and causes.

The Resident will keep this story updated - but for now, weather forecasts point to rain diminishing significantly and drying up altogether by Thursday.