Just what is happening to the weather in this region? Every week we seem to read of severe flooding in some part or other, southern Italy, Andalusia and Tenerife and now Madeira.
Portuguese naval ships with helicopters and medical supplies were on their way to the holiday island this morning, where violent rainstorms and floods that lasted 12 hours have killed at least 32 people.
The flooding has destroyed bridges and homes and cut off phone and electricity across the popular tourist destination in the worst storms to hit the island since October 1993, when eight people died and the worst in forty years.
Television pictures showed torrents of muddy water pouring through the streets of Funchal, the capital, flooding roads, over-turning cars and bringing down trees.
Winds exceeding 100 km an hour, high seas and blocked roads hampered rescue efforts on the island located around 560 miles off the south-west coast of Portugal. Officials had to evacuate the lower part of the town, which has a population of 100,000, as the floodwaters continued to rise and hundreds of homes are now flooded out with mud.
Divers are now preparing to search the bay for cars that might contain victims trapped inside.