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Deadly floods inundate southeast Spain

flood-valencia-murcia-spain-december-2016

Torrential downpours which have been lashing the southeast Spain since December 17, 2016, have caused severe flooding. Five people died from drowning by late December 20, according to media reports.

Over 400 mm (15.8 inches) of precipitation was reported in some areas over the last couple of days. 433.2 mm (17 inches) of rainfall was observed in Beniarrés in the period between December 16 and 19 while 398.6 mm (15.7 inches) lashed Pinet, at the same time, according to Agencia Estatal de Meteorologia (AEMET).

72-hr rainfall accumulation as observed by the GPM Core Observatory

72-hr rainfall accumulation as observed by the GPM Core Observatory. Image credit: Google/NASA/JAXA/GPM

In a 24 hour period by December 19, 188.8 mm (7.4 inches) of rainfall was recorded in Barx, Valencia, 128.6 mm (5 inches) in Ontinyent, 94.6 mm (3.7 inches) in Alcoy, Alicante, 90.4 mm (3.6 inches) in Pego, and 83.6 mm (3.3 inches) in Carcaixent, Valencia. At the same time, 40 mm (1.6 inches) was reported in Moratalla, Murcia, 36.8 mm (1.4 inches) in Yecla, and 32.3 mm (1.3 inches) in San Javier Aeropuerto, Murcia.

In a 24 hour period by December 18, 61.4 mm (2.4 inches) of precipitation was recorded in Torre-Pacheco, Murcia, 149.9 mm (5.9 inches) in San Javier Aeropuerto, 117.4 mm (4.6 inches) in Alhama de Murcia, 94.2 mm (3.7 inches) in Murcia, 73.8 mm (2.9 inches) in Bullas, and 116.6 mm (4.6 inches) in Carcaixent. At the same time, Barx reported 93.4 mm (3.7 inches), Orihuela in Alicante 88.6 mm (3.5 inches), Rojales 78.6 mm (3 inches), and Enguera-Navalón in Valencia 74.4 mm (2.9 inches).

Flooding in the Albaida valley, Spain, December 20, 2016

Flooding in the Albaida valley, Spain, December 20, 2016

Flooding in the Albaida valley, Spain, December 20, 2016. Image credit: Marta Marley and Vincent Tormo via Avamet Predicció (posted by Severe Weather Europe)

In a 24 hour period by December 17, 107.8 mm (4.2 inches) of rainfall was received by Buñol and 106.8 mm (4.2 inches) was reported by Enguera-Navalón in Valencia while other areas recorded between 49.4 and 76.6 mm (1.9 and 3 inches) of precipitation. 

The regions of Valencia and Murcia were hit the hardest. Widespread traffic disruptions and road blockages have been reported, and schools have closed. 

Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate, and at least 350 rescues have been performed by the emergency services in the areas of Los Alcazares, Murcia, San Javier and Torre Pacheco. Emergency service in Murcia reported 2 773 emergency calls since December 17.

Video credit: Aifen Oro via YouTube

Level 2 emergency alert plan was put in effect on December 18, and armed forces have been deployed to aid in affected areas. Schools have been closed since December 19 across 28 municipalities in Murcia. 

The rainfall will likely move toward Catalonia and the Balearic Islands in the coming days, and orange level alerts have been issued accordingly.

Featured image: Flooding in the Albaida valley, Spain, December 20, 2016. Image credit: Marta Marley and Vincent Tormo via Avamet Predicció (posted by Severe Weather Europe)

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