Gota Fria arrived again

Gota Fria arrived again

A Gota Fria is a Cold Drop which occurs when warm air saturated with water vapour rises and meets a much colder layer high up in the atmosphere.

18 Sep 2010 : About 2 min reading time

Remember this? My birthday in September 2007

A Gota Fria is :- _Gota Fria or ‘Cold Drop’ occurs when warm air saturated with water vapour rises and meets a much colder layer high up in the atmosphere. The sudden change in air temperature causes the water vapour saturated air to cool quickly and as a result the water vapour coalesces and falls as extremely heavy intense rainfall. The conditions necessary for a Gota Fria to form are often found in the autumn when the sea temperature is still high but upper airstreams are much cooler. A Gota Fria is usually very localised and can be accompanied by high winds, hail and lightning.

The phenomenon is particular common in the western Mediterranean but not limited to this area often occurring on the Atlantic coast in the summer months. The term has passed into popular language and is often used to describe heavy spells of rain even when these are not true Gota Frias. The power and intensity of a Gota Fria can be severe causing widespread damage and even deaths. Like a hurricane the Gota Fria depends on the sea to gain energy and so easterly (Levante) winds which are the commonest winds in the Valencian region blowing along the length of the Mediterranean can increase the risks of Gota Fria. Also like hurricanes the effects of Gota Frias are usually most intensely felt on or close to the coast.

Winds have been known to gust up to 140 kilometres per hours, strong enough to uproot trees and lift roofs but are usually short lived._ There are many examples over the years of particularly powerful and devastating Gota Frias. Some of the most famous are the 1891 Gota Fria in Almeria which caused widespread flooding throughout the province with rivers overflowing their banks and many deaths; the flooding on Alicante in 1982 and again in 1997 also resulting in loss of life; closer to the present day Almunecar and Nerja in 2007 and Alcalá de Guaraíra also in 2007.


Well its that time of year for a gota fria to happen. I had taken 3 clients on the GR7 walk from Soportujar to Lanjaron via Canar. We woke up to a storm, then when Richard dropped us off in Soportujar another storm arrived, so me and the 3 clients headed straight to a bar and waited out the storm. The locals were telling us not to go, but the sun eventually came out again so we headed off. A few more landslips have happened again along that section. We got to Canar just in time as the rain arrived so we took shelter in the church doorway.

When it stopped we headed out of town onto the next section of the walk to Lanjaron. 5 mins into the walk it was obvious another storm was blowing in, we made a hasty retreat to the only open bar in town. After that storm we headed out again, 20 mins out of town this time, a storm arrived right over our heads, no warning no nothing. Quick discussion, we headed back to town, phoned Richard and called it a day, enough was enough with rain and storms. Whilst we waited for Richard to pick us up we watched another storm roll in, we were enveloped in cloud, booming thunder, heavy rain. Good decision.

Glad we did call it a day here is a video of what blew in later on.