Cold drop

what is the cold drop

Surely you have heard the term of cold drop when these times come. And it is a meteorological phenomenon that usually occurs almost every year. The reason why this phenomenon is widely talked about is because it involves heavy rains, usually very violent, which give rise to large gusts of wind and even small hurricanes.

Do you want to know what cold blob is and what is its formation? Keep reading because in this post we tell you everything.

Extreme weather phenomenon

Cold drop damage

The cold drop has been registered almost every year at this time. It draws a lot of attention since its violence is extreme. Among the records, records of accumulated rainfall have been overcome in just one hour. These are really extreme episodes that can cause extensive damage and destruction in cities. As a consequence, many cities are without electricity supplies and infrastructure is giving way.

This cold drop belongs to the characteristics of our Mediterranean climate in which they are registered rainfall not so abundant and concentrated in winter. In general, most of the precipitations tend to be torrential and accompanied by numerous damage.

When recording rainfall It does not mean that these violent rains make the average annual rainfall increase greatlyInstead, they are concentrated in a short period. Not all places in Spain have the same levels of rainfall, but rather they are concentrated in a small space. It may be that in one town most of the rains are unleashed, while in the neighboring town we only have mild rains.

As we have mentioned before, It is not the first time that you have suffered from cold drop starring violent rains, but they occur after the summer due to the interaction of large air masses. The images that these extreme episodes leave us are really spectacular and generate destruction with enormous economic costs.

How the cold drop is formed

cold drop in Spain

But we are constantly talking about the magnitude of these rains and the consequences it has and we do not talk about how it is formed. What is it that triggers such a situation? Well, according to the State Meteorological Agency, AEMET, marks the origin of this phenomenon in a great depression in height of the pressures where in the central part is the coldest air.

It is a fairly high air mass (about 5.000 meters high) that lowers its pressure enormously with respect to the air that surrounds it. This depression in height has the center of cold air and creates storm clouds that unleash apocalyptic levels of precipitation. When talking about this type of phenomenon, the enormous air masses that come from thousands of kilometers from which they are able to travel are described.

This disturbance and huge drop in pressure does not have an immediate effect or a reflection on the earth's surface. That is, we do not notice it at our level of direct handle. However, measurement experiments have been carried out in which it has been shown that the cold drop always has a reflection at low levels. The most frequent indicators are usually winds, rain, sudden changes in temperature or even pressure. Thanks to this, the cold drop can be detected in time to prevent its consequences.

People often confuse the cold drop with those rains that come with a cold wind. It is true that this type of rain is usually a consequence of the cold drop. However, they are not synonymous. The cold drop is the time that occurs as a result of the characteristics of the Mediterranean climate and the depression in height due to the different air masses.

Key features

Heavy rains from the cold drop

The main characteristic of the cold drop is that of having great precipitations that fall in just a few minutes and in a very specific place. When it rains in such a strong way in such a short time, if the place where it falls is in a city or town, in general, the infrastructures are not prepared to withstand and channel so much runoff water. As a result, the consequences are disastrous, causing serious material damage and even claiming lives.

Imagine that you are in a car and that the floods end up hitting and dragging you with incredible force. It is impossible to escape from this situation without outside help. This heavy rain and storm is not the cold drop itself, but rather the phenomena associated with it.

According to the AEMET, the cold drop is used to refer colloquially to the phenomena of intense, damaging and catastrophic rains that lead to highly dangerous meteorological situations. The problem is that this concept is wrong. For this reason, the AEMET is ceasing to use this term, which leads to confusion. The cold drop as a concept brings together many elements that are not precise.

It is a wild card that is used to talk about phenomena in a flat way. Instead of using this term, the most correct would be intense storms and persistent rains, since there may be them without the cold drop. The cold drop is exclusively about altitude depression. However, there may be intense and destructive storms and there may not necessarily be a depression in height.

Due to these confusions, not only in the population but among meteorologists, is being discontinued. Only in Spain and Germany is this concept still being used, but less and less.


cold drop disasters

As a result of the meteorological phenomena of intense and extreme rains, the affected cities and towns are flooded, from roads, vehicles to houses and basements. Many towns they are left without electricity or water supply. Depending on the size and flow, the rivers end up being overflowed.

Cold drop in some provinces

cold drop provinces

The cold drop does not affect all places in Spain equally. We are going to talk about some provinces where it affects the most.

  • The cold drop in Valencia it has generated numerous floods, power cuts and overflowing rivers. It leaves more than 40 students without a school.
  • The cold drop in Castellón it left a record of rainfall with 159 liters of water in one hour per square meter. Firefighters had to act to save lives and garbage containers were washed away by the force of the water.
  • The cold drop in Alicante it also causes serious damage in this province. However, in this case he has had more luck training in Gibraltar. As mentioned in the DANA article, the most common is that it is formed in a west-east orientation.
  • The cold drop in Barcelona last month it affected by delaying the train schedules. This causes serious problems in the work of thousands of people in addition to damaged infrastructure. Up to 235 liters per square meter per hour fell.

As you can see, the cold drop can trigger intense rains that cause serious damage, generating extra economic costs and panic in the populations. I hope cities can better prepare for these kinds of situations.

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