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Last week's high winds and waves caused worst damage to coastline in 22 years

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Surfers made the most of the waves on El Faro beach in Marbella. / JOSELE-LANZA

  • After balmy temperatures over Easter, an unsettled end to the week saw eight-metre-high waves and flooded beach bars and promenades

After summery temperatures over Easter, many Costa del Sol residents had already consigned winter clothes to the back of the wardrobe. However strong easterly winds at the end of last week forced many to think again, as severe weather warnings were put in place along the Costa del Sol and inland areas.

Waves of up to eight metres in height battered the Costa del Sol causing serious damage to beaches and promenades.

The stormy seas have brought headaches for local authorities, who have just spent millions on restoring beaches and seafronts after the winter in preparation for Easter week.

Torremolinos was worst hit by the freak weather conditions with beach bars suffering considerable damage and the beach's sand displaced onto the promenade. The disruption was most serious in La Carihuela, where structural damage and flooding caused thousands of euros of damage. Playamar and Los Álamos were also affected.

Mayor José Ortiz decribed the situation as "very complicated", a sentiment echoed by the president of the Association of Beach Businesses on the Costa del Sol, Manuel Villafaina, who said: "There aren't enough machines to fix all of this damage."

He argues that putting submerged breakwaters in strategic positions could prevent a repeat of this.

Starting over again

In Marbella, "we could say that we've gone back to December," said beaches councillor, Miguel Díaz. Several beach bars were flooded and sand washed away leaving pipes and drains exposed.

"We will have to start from scratch," said his counterpart in La Cala de Mijas where bins and showers were washed away and walkways were damaged despite waves not reaching anywhere near the same height as in other municipalities.

The eastern Costa

It was not just the western Costa del Sol that was affected, with Torrox Costa's La Ferrara beach losing a 300-metre strip of sand despite a breakwater being in place since last year.

Considerable amounts of sand were also swept away from Calaceite and El Peñoncillo.

Rincón de la Victoria's 10-kilometre coastline also suffered damage with bins, loungers, umbrellas, showers and even a bouncy castle next to the tourist information centre swept away by the waves.

Damage, to a lesser extent, was also recorded in Nerja and Vélez-Málaga.