The Winter of All Storms


 Photography: Eduardo Ulrich


This past winter was a dark and cold season, as usual, but also filled with constant storms, which is somewhat unusual in our country. It started with Hercules, the most powerful storm to hit Ericeira for the last 15 years; and then came Ruth and Stephanie, weaker but equally impactful.

Ericeira is one the many places in Portugal where the storms have changed the coastline’s scenario, either in its shape, or in the infrastructures that were affected by the bad weather. Currently, Foz do Lizandro is unrecognizable – there is almost no beach at all and the mouth of the river extends throughout the shore; besides that, the amount of sand taken by the strength of the ocean left uncovered a slab hidden for decades; Coxos and Empa were other beaches affected, such was the amount of sand that vanished, revealing hidden rocks; on Algodio and Sul, bars and restaurants were heavily damaged.

On this month’s edition of the Surf Portugal magazine, a piece by Susana Santos quotes Tony Butt, a big wave surfer with a doctorate degree in Oceanography and the author of the book “Surf Science: An Introduction to Waves for Surfing”, which explains how do the variations in the atmospheric pressure on the sea level of the North Atlantic Ocean influence the surface temperature, the precipitation and the wind on the European mainland.

Butt states that everything is about “two phases”, one fluid and the other acting as blocking. The first one means “big waves, western winds and a soft climate”; the “blocking” conditions bring “flat sea, eastern winds and a cold climate.” This Winter, we got stuck in a fluid phase longer than usual.

One of the worst winters in recent memory is already gone, leaving behind strong winds never witnessed before – in Portimão was registered a gust of wind with a unprecedented speed of 175 km/h on the 17th of January, giant waves – over four meters high -, destruction and damages. Now is the time to remember some of those spectacular images that the storms also provided and celebrate the return of the Sun and the warmth.


Eduardo Ulrich: #1-4

José Guerra: #5

Luís Rodrigues: #6-8

AZUL: #9

Nuno Vicente: #10-14

Manuel Lemos: #15

Esta publicação também está disponível em | This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)