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Image from 9 December 2022, when 51mm of rain fell. SUR
Historic weather data for Malaga since 2019 highlights the drought crisis facing the province
Drought crisis

Historic weather data for Malaga since 2019 highlights the drought crisis facing the province

A detailed analysis of the data from the Malaga Airport recording station reveals that it rained on just 232 days in five years but less than five millimetres of rain fell on half of them. In nine months it didn't rain a single drop

Chus Heredia

Malaga

Sunday, 7 January 2024

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A detailed analysis of the meteorological data from the Malaga Airport recording station has revealed that it rained on only 232 days in five years but in half of these dates less than five millimetres of rain fell and in a third less than 1mm fell. The longest period without a drop of rain occurred between 25 April 2019 and 14 September 2019. And in nine of the 72 months that make up the study period, from 2019, not a single drop of rain fell.

The analysis of the data provided by Spain’s Met Office (Aemet) to SUR gives a true measure of the serious drought situation that Malaga province is going through. In the five-year period from 2019 to 2023, 1,613.2mm of rainfall was recorded at the airport which equates to a poor average of 322.6mm per year.

During the study period, there were 45 days with more than 10mm of rainfall, 21 days with more than 20mm; 14 days with more than 30mm; eight days with more than 40mm; and four days in which the rain gauge registered more than 50mm.

The wettest days were: on 8 January 2021 (61.7mm); 20 March 2019 (60.3mm); and 25 March 2022 (60.2mm). A good amount of rainfall also occurred between 20 and 25 January 2020, in the run-up to the pandemic when it rained five days in a row with an accumulated total of 145mm.

Driest year

It is known that 2023 was the driest year since official records were kept in 1942. Last year, rain fell on only 37 days, with an accumulated total recorded at Malaga Airport of 179.3mm. The second driest year was in 2019 when rain fell on just 31 days with an accumulated total of 207.2mm. The best year was 2020 when it rained on 56 days with an accumulated total of 459.8mm.

The drought of 1995, which was the culmination of a very poor five years in terms of rainfall, is still very clear in the memory of many people. Since 1990 and in the successive years, only 330mm, 398mm, 320mm, 468mm, 304mm, and 315mm of rain was recorded at the airport. In 1996, it rained, and it rained a lot: 1,120mm, similar to the 1,307mm of 1978 and the 1,169mm of 2010.

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