Thursday, February 22, 2024

At least two dead as heavy rainfall triggers flash floods in Spain | Weather News

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Two people die in the Toledo province as flash floods force the closure of Madrid metro lines and high-speed rail links.

At least two people have died after heavy rains lashed Spain, triggering flash floods that forced the closure of Madrid metro lines and high-speed rail links.

Helicopters were sent to rescue people who had sought refuge on the roofs of their homes in Toledo, about 50km (31 miles) southwest of Madrid, on Monday.

Two people died in the province of Toledo due to the storm, the head of the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha said.

Spanish media said a man was found dead by police during a rescue attempt on a road near Bargas, while another man died as rescuers tried to reach him in the tow of Casarrubios del Monte.

Rubble on a riverbed in the town of Aldea del Fresno, in the Madrid region [Oscar del Pozo Canas/AFP]

According to state weather office Aemet, the weekend storm affected almost the whole country, with the heaviest rains recorded on Sunday in the coastal provinces of Cadiz, Tarragona and Castello.

The sudden downpours on Sunday and Monday transformed streets into rivers of mud that swept away cars and rubbish bins in Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalonia and Valencia regions.

Hail was also reported in many areas.

Emergency services were looking for a man who went missing after his car was swept away early on Monday by a swollen river in the rural area of Aldea del Fresno west of Madrid, a spokesperson from Madrid’s emergency services, Javier Chivite, told public television RTVE.

Firefighters found his 10-year-old son, who was initially reported as missing, on top of a tree.

“The poor boy spent the night perched in a tree,” the head of the regional government of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, told reporters.

Several bridges collapsed in Aldea del Fresno, and torrents of water swept away many cars, according to the AFP news agency.

Collapsed footbridge
Residents look at a collapsed footbridge, in the town of Aldea del Fresno, in the Madrid region [Oscar del Pozo/AFP]

Rescuers were also looking for a woman who disappeared under similar circumstances near Toledo and an 84-year-old man who was dragged off by streams of water and mud in Villamanta, west of Madrid.

Despite being heavy in some places, the rainfall is expected to wane later on Monday. The National Weather Agency lowered the alert level to yellow from orange and red on Sunday.

Several railway lines were closed in central Madrid on Monday. Still, the service was re-established in most of the city during the morning, and only a few stations near the Manzanares River were still closed around noon, the Metro de Madrid subway operator said in a statement.

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