Spain: Weather warnings as storms turn deadly

Spain was bracing for more severe weather on Friday after a day of flooding and high winds turned deadly.

A 61-year-old man and his 51-year-old sister died when their vehicle was swept away in the fast-moving floodwaters. The accident occurred in the municipality of Caudete, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of the city of Valencia.

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The local AVAMET weather service shared footage of cars being swept away.

It also showed torrents of water engulfing the nearby town of Ontinyent, after the Clariano River burst its banks in the heaviest rainfall since agency records began in 1917.

"We had 300 millimeters of rain. We haven't seen that for a century," Jorge Rodriguez, mayor of Ontinyent, told Spanish public broadcaster TVE.

Red alert

The Valencia region has been placed on red alert, with authorities saying they had ordered the closure of schools in 84 districts, affecting more than 255,000 pupils. Officials in neighboring Murcia also ordered the closure of all schools into Friday.

The region of Alicante and the province of Albacete were also badly affected.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said emergency services were working to minimize the effects.

"Our thanks for their work and all our solidarity with the thousands of people affected by torrential rains," Sanchez tweeted.

Heavy rain and storms often hit Spain's eastern coast as summer gives way to autumn — a phenomenon known locally as "la gota fria"(the cold drop) or DANA (isolated high altitude depression). This occurs when warm air saturated with water from the Mediterranean rises to form huge columns of cloud.

rc/cmk (Reuters, dpa, EFE)

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