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Beaches in Malaga and Torrox stripped of sand in this week's stormy weather

Rough seas near Malaga city on Monday.
Rough seas near Malaga city on Monday. / SALVADOR SALAS
  • Considering the strength of the wind and waves the province's coastline came out of the storm quite lightly

  • The government has promised to extend beach defences in Benalmádena to reduce wave damage

The high winds and rough seas that hit the Costa del Sol last Sunday and Monday could have done much more damage.

The Spanish meteorological agency issued an amber weather warning when gusts of up to 95 km/h were recorded, the strongest since 2007, when wind speeds of 108km/h were measured in Malaga.

The amber warning was also in place due to the sea conditions with waves of more than five metres in height battering the shores. In Marbella and Manilva wave heights of six metres were recorded, while the figures for Mijas and Malaga show 4.5 metres.

Despite the height, however, experts explained that the force of the waves hitting the shore was smaller and the beaches retained their sand more than in other relatively less fierce storms.

Exceptions, however, are the Huelin beach in Malaga city and Ferrara in Torrox. In Huelin, where the waves invaded the promenade, the maintenance of the beach is the responsibility of the ports authority, which already has plans in place to distribute some 25,000 cubic metres of sand along the worst-hit stretch.

In the case of Ferrara, which often bears the brunt of the weather fronts, the breakwater built recently has only partly solved the problem. The town hall has called this week for the central Coasts authority to build a second defence barrier.

The government agreed on Wednesday to extend an existing offshore breakwater in Benalmádena to provide greater protection to beaches such as Las Gaviotas, which has suffered particularly in recent storms. Damage has also been caused to Malapesquera and Santa Ana.

The breakwater project has been approved, said the central government representative Miguel Briones, although work cannot start until the general state budget has been passed by parliament and the environmental impact report has been submitted.

The plans, to cost more than half a million euros, involve an 80-metre extension of the current breakwater, “a more than definitive solution” to the beaches' lack of stability, said Briones.

The mayor of Benalmádena, Víctor Navas, said that the project could be carried out sooner if the government approved the town hall's proposal to finance the work using municipal funds, an investment he said the local authority could manage.

While local councils assess the damage caused by this most recent storm, “there is time” said the Coasts authority to have the beaches ready for the Easter holidays.