Heavy rain hits southern Spain, causing severe flash floods

Heavy rain hits southern Spain, causing severe flash floods

Heavy rain hit parts of the southern Spain early Wednesday, October 18, 2017, causing major flash floods and power outages. While very damaging to some, the rain came as a blessing to others.

After almost 50 days without a drop of rain, the first rainstorm of the season hit Iberian peninsula on Wednesday, leaving flooded streets and houses, damaged cars and causing power outages in western Andalusia as well as large traffic jams in the capital, El Pais reports.

As of noon local time, October 18, the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) kept 13 provinces under heavy rain alert - Cordoba, Jaén, Almería, Huesca, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Navarre, Castellón, Valencia and Baleares - after deactivating those in effect in Malaga, Granada, Salamanca and Cáceres.

All of them were on yellow alert, except Huesca and Lleida where the orange alert was in effect due to the expected accumulation of 80 mm (3.14 inches) of rain within 12 hours, Tarragona (40 mm / 1.57 inches per hour) and Almeria (35 mm / 1.37 inches per hour).

The most rain fell in the west of Andalusia, especially in Cadiz, Aemet said. In El Bosque, a town in the Sierra de Grazalema, weather stations registered 65 mm (2.55 inches) by 06:00 local time Wednesday. Jimena de la Frontera registered 49 mm (1.92 inches) by 09:30 and Grazalema 46 mm (1.81 inches) during the same period.

Aemet reminded that 15 mm (0.59 inches) of rain per hour is considered heavy rain and very heavy from 30 mm (1.18 inches) and up.

In Cadiz capital, where 31 mm (1.22 inches) of rain was recorded by 09:30, the rain wreaked havoc in the middle of the night. There were 162 incidents within 6 hours, including flooded homes, washed-up vehicles, and lightning strikes.

The worst affected was Jerez with 110 incidents and 200 damaged cares. Its neighborhood of La Asunción was hit especially hard, with up to 73 mm (2.87 inches) of rain within several hours. Some reports mention 77 mm (3.03 inches) within 45 minutes.

The Port of Santa Maria was also hit hard, with 41 incidents from midnight to 06:00 local time.

The Province of Malaga recorded 50 mm (1.96 inches) of rain. Its low-lying areas were flooded in several municipalities. There were 55 recorded incidents in the province as well as power outages in Fuengirola and Torremolinos lasting about 30 minutes.

Featured image: Major flash flood in Jerez, Spain on October 18, 2017. Credit: Francisco Zuasti

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