Spanish rescue services were on Wednesday still searching for three people reported missing as a result of a powerful storm that battered parts of the country for three days, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
Four people have died as a result of the storm since Sunday, when the national weather agency Aemet declared a red alert in 10 provinces.
The country’s eastern Mediterranean region bore the brunt of Storm Gloria, where a combination of heavy rains, gusting winds and pounding waves have destroyed seafront promenades, toppled trees, flooded roads and brought down bridges, walls and even entire buildings. The low temperatures also brought snowfall to northern and eastern Spain.
📷 Imatge de la C-35 tallada entre Hostalric i Fogars de la Selva
— Trànsit (@transit) January 22, 2020
Image of the C-35 road cut between Hostalric and Fogars de la Selva. The storm has badly damaged the road network. Be very prudent, don’t do anything risky!
Travel was affected as the dangerous weather conditions forced Alicante airport to halt hundreds of flights. Numerous roads were partially closed off, including the busy AP-7 highway linking eastern Spain with France. The storm also lefts thousands without power and shut down schools.
Catalonia, the Valencia region and the Balearic Islands have been particularly affected by the unusual weather system, which was still bringing heavy rain to parts of Catalonia on Wednesday as it moved towards southern France. Parts of Alicante province had rainfall of up to 600mm on Monday, and winds gusted up to more than 100km/h.
The Catalan firefighting service on Wednesday morning reported that a man in his eighties who went missing in Begues, in Barcelona province, has been found in a wooded area, “conscious but disoriented.”
Another man is still missing after reportedly falling into the sea in the port of Palamós (Girona) as he attempted to moor a boat. A third individual went missing in Mallorca as he was canyoneering in Sóller. And authorities in La Nucía (Alicante) are looking for a 67-year-old man whose empty vehicle was found in a hard-to-reach spot after being dragged there by the Algar river.
A sea of foam
Some coastal towns have been covered by white foam, creating unusual scenes that the Catalan Water Agency (ACA) said are due to “the presence of surfactants derived from the breakdown of organic matter found naturally” in the sea. The combination of strong waves and these foaming agents have covered the streets of Tossa de Mar (Girona) and Jávea (Alicante) with white bubbles. “Even the older residents I have talked to say they had never seen anything like it,” said Tossa mayor Imma Colom.
The city of Valencia had the highest wave on record at 8.44 meters, amply surpassing the previous mark of 6.45 meters set during the storm of January 2017. In Alicante province, the sea level rose by 1.5 meters, ravaging beaches and seafront promenades in Jávea, Calpe, Denia, Benidorm and other popular tourist destinations.
Ruined rice fields
In Malgrat (Barcelona), two bridges were swept away by the rising waters of the Tordera river, while in Alcoy (Alicante), a third home collapsed on Wednesday morning as a result of the damage, according to the regional daily Informacion. And local authorities in the Ebro river delta said that seawater has affected thousands of hectares of rice fields.
In September of last year, the Mediterranean region experienced another major storm that flooded large areas in southern Alicante and caused heavy material damage.
English version by Susana Urra.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.