Threat of La Palma landslides and floods as rain hits the island

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Rain forecast has geologists worried over La Palma landslides

As the weather turns on the Spanish mainland and its islands, the forecast of rain is especially worrying for the geologists working on the Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption. Speaking to, the spokesperson for the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute (Involcan), David Calvo, said that when ash is soaked “it acquires a beastly weight” and can cause structures to completely crumble.  

Where there are weakened accumulations of material, fine particles of rock and minerals that have been released by the volcano gather together, balancing precariously. These accumulations can fall altogether creating La Palma landslides and they can also reach the sewer, backing up the drains and causing flooding. This scenario is less likely with this weekends predicted rains, although there could be up to 15 litres per square meter in one hour on parts of the island. Strong winds are also forecast that could blow the affected air from the exclusion zone of the island over to the airport, affecting flight plans.  

For all these reasons, the population is working as fast as possible to clean away the ash. The Los Llanos de Aridane City Council have confirmed the hiring of 20 companies to complete this task and rid the streets of the municipality of the dangerous ash. 

The contracted companies join about 50 daily municipal workers, many volunteers and fire brigades. The council has also been counting on the support of the Unidad Militar de Emergencias “whose work is very necessary since they are in charge of cleaning the scuppers preventing the rainwater system from collapsing”, said the council.

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Written by

Claire Gordon


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