Gota Fría in Spain

Spain, especially the east coast areas, can experience intense rain and wind storms in the autumn months. These storms, known as gota fria, can take you by surprise unless you know what to expect and are prepared<strong><em>...</em></strong>

Gota fría, or "cold drop", is a weather phenomenon often occurring in the Spanish autumn. It is experienced particularly along the western Mediterranean and as such, most frequently affects the east coast of Spain (although it is by no means limited to this area).

Gota fría is the name given to the storms. These most commonly take place after the summer months when the sea temperature is still high, but the temperature in upper airstreams suddenly drops. The warm air, saturated with water vapour, rises and cools too quickly when meeting the upper airstreams. The result is extremely intense rainfall, accompanied by high winds (up to 140 km/h), hail and thunderstorms.

A gota fría is more intense on or close to the coast, and can be powerful enough to uproot trees.

Up-to-date Weather Warnings

  • Select a region for local weather forecasts from AEMET: Click here (in Spanish)
  • For today's weather warnings from AEMET: Click here (in Spanish)

In the Event of a Gota Fría

Expect extremely heavy rain, flash flooding, power cuts and no telephone reception.

The Cartagena Ayuntamiento provides very clear guidance on how to prepare and what to do in the event of storms.

Prepare the home for floods

  • Make sure the roof is clean and the drains are free of leaves
  • Clear the outdoors areas and garden in the end of the summer (bring in furniture, garden tools and other moveable objects that might be blown or washed away)
  • Swimming pools should be partly emptied, to avoid flooding
  • Keep a couple of days’ worth of dry food and water, along with a torch, batteries and a radio in a high place where it can be quickly reached
  • Important documentation and items should be kept at the highest part of the house

In the event of storms and flood

  • Turn of the electricity
  • Listen to local radio news, but avoid using the phone
  • Be prepared to leave the house and go to a safe place if ordered by the authorities

On the road in floods

  • Try to tune in to the local radio channel
  • Prepare to drive towards higher locations
  • Prepare to abandon the car and head to higher ground if the water levels begin to rise or if the car is stuck
  • If the car is submerged in water, and it’s difficult to open the door, exit through the window without loosing any time

Avoid unnecessary danger:

  • Stay on main roads
  • Never cross flooded areas by car
  • Watch out for loose electricity cables and falling objects, beware that tunnels and drains can be hazardous
  • Never park on riverbeds
  • Avoid driving after dark

Further Information

  • For full details from the Cartagena Ayuntamiento including advice of how to be prepared in the case of floods, how to act during and after: Click here (in Spanish)
  • Wikipedia on the Gota fría (in Spanish)