The muddy rain caused by the Sahara dust in the air created some eerie scenes. / Salvador Salas

News round-up of 2022: Weather

This is our SUR in English round-up of the main events that have dominated 2022, starting of course with many people's favourite subject... the weather

TONY BRYANT, DEBBIE BARTLETT, JENNIE RHODES

What were the most memorable events this year for English-speaking residents and visitors to southern Spain? Whether it was the abnormally high temperatures and dry weather almost up to Christmas, or the low points, of a war in Ukraine or the sad news for Britons and others of the death of Queen Elizabeth, SUR in English has reported on them all from a local angle.

Drought

Reservoirs hit record lows

The lack of rain leading to desperately low levels of water in the province's reservoirs has dominated the local news this year. The worst-hit area was the Axarquía, where subtropical fruit growers saw their water supply from La Viñuela reservoir restricted, until it was cut off completely on 1 October. By the end of November it had equalled its record low of 9.3 per cent (15.2 cubic metres) capacity, last recorded on 31 October 2008.

The rain finally brought some relief in early December and storm Efraín wreaked havoc in some parts of the province. A tornado caused damage in Marbella, while residents in Chilches were unable to leave their houses by car due to flooding and giant potholes in the track leading from their houses to the main road.

Levels of La Viñuela reservoir are still around all-time lows. / Ñito Salas

Calima

The Saharan sand haze turned Malaga's white villages orange

Malaga province woke up to a film set look in March when the calima - the haze caused by Saharan sand suspended in the atmosphere - left a blanket of orange over houses, cars and everything else in its path.

Videos emerged of people skiing on orange snow in Granada's Sierra Nevada mountains.

Those with respiratory problems were advised to stay indoors or wear face masks if they had to go out, and some villages provided free paint for residents to redo their houses after it turned Andalucía's famous white villages dusty brown.

The calima returned again in May, and in October SUR in English reported that many buildings still hadn't been returned to their original colour.

Hottest summer on record

The average maximum temperature was 31.8C

This summer in the province was the hottest ever according to Spain's Aemet weather agency. The average of the maximum temperatures in June, July and August was 31.8C, the highest since 1943 and the thermometers remained higher than average locally well into November.

The fire that affected Alhaurín el Grande and Mijas, burned for 20 days in July. / S. Salas

Fires

High temperatures and drought were a huge risk

There were fewer wildfires in Andalucía in 2022 than in 2021 but they have caused more damage, according to an official report.

One of the worst was the fire that broke out in July in the Sierra de Mijas. It started in El Higuerón and forced the activation of Level 1 of the Forest Fire Emergency Plan. Spreading over towards Alhaurín el Grande and Alhaurín de la Torre, it affected more than 1,800 hectares. Over 2,000 homes were evacuated as a precaution to ensure the safety of residents and it took the fire services 20 days to put it out.

The Junta de Andalucía said the drought and the heat had been "an explosive combination in terms of fire risk".