A destroyed car in the middle of a river in the town of Aldea del Fresno, in the Madrid region of Spain. [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]Published On 4 Sep 20234 Sep 2023
At least two people have died and three are missing in Spain after heavy rains triggered flash floods and impacted transportation systems.
The weekend storm affected almost the whole country, with the heaviest rains recorded on Sunday in the coastal provinces of Cadiz, Tarragona and Castello, according to the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET).
Two people died in the countryside near the central city of Toledo, where AEMET registered record rainfall of 90 litres per square metre on Sunday.
In the Madrid region, police were searching for one man in the rural area of Aldea del Fresno, southwest of Madrid. Rescuers were also looking for a woman who disappeared under similar circumstances near Toledo and for an 84-year-old man who was dragged off by streams of water and mud in Villamanta, west of Madrid.
On Sunday, residents of the Madrid region received an emergency text in Spanish and English accompanied by a loud alarm urging them not to use their vehicles and stay at home due to the “extreme risk of storms”.
It was the first time the authorities had used this mobile phone alert system.
Several theatres in the capital closed early on Sunday, while a football match between Atletico Madrid and Sevilla was suspended.
On Monday, a number of metro lines also closed in Madrid during the morning rush hour due to flooding caused by heavy overnight rains, although by early afternoon only a few stations near the Manzanares River remained shut.
High-speed rail links between Madrid and the southwestern region of Andalusia and the east coast region of Valencia, which closed on Sunday, reopened on Monday although trains were running at slower speeds in some sections, railway operator Renfe said.
The heavy rainfall eased on Monday morning. AEMET lowered its alert level for the Madrid region to yellow from a maximum red alert on Sunday.
The torrential weather comes after Spain, which has endured three years of scant rainfall that has prompted some regions to impose water-use restrictions, endured an intense heatwave and persistent high temperatures in August.
Scientists warn that extreme weather marked by heatwaves and storms is becoming more intense as a result of climate change.
The storm affected almost the whole of Spain, with the heaviest rains recorded in the provinces of Cadiz, Tarragona and Castello. [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]Residents walk in a flooded street in Aldea del Fresno. [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]In the Madrid region, rescuers tackled almost 1,200 incidents overnight and firefighters and police were searching for one man in Aldea del Fresno, the emergency services said. [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]Several roads in the Madrid region were closed as half a dozen bridges were torn down by water overflowing the river banks. [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]The rainfall, although still heavy in some places, was expected to wane later on Monday. The State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) on Monday lowered the alert level to yellow from orange and red on Sunday. [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]
A resident cleans mud from his doorstep in Aldea del Fresno. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez thanked emergency services for their work and urged people to “continue to behave with caution”. [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]Mud and rubble stand in front of the municipal sports centre in Aldea del Fresno. [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]Residents look at a collapsed footbridge Aldea del Fresno. [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]