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Storm Elsa hits southern Europe, leaving widespread destruction and at least 8 people dead


Storm Elsa is affecting parts of southern Europe, including Spain, Portugal and France, since December 18, 2019, with very heavy rain and strong winds, damaging buildings, cutting power supply and shutting down roads.  A second storm, named Fabian, is expected to impact the region over this weekend. At least 8 people have been killed, 6 in Spain and 2 in Portugal.

Elsa produced wind speeds up to 177 km/h (110 mph) in some areas, leaving hundreds of thousands without power. In just 24 hours to 06:00 UTC on December 20, Grazalema recorded 289.6 mm (11.4 inches); over 22 mm (0.86 inches) per hour over several hours.

In southern France, nearly 140 000 people have been left without power, while 3 people were injured and 17 others were evacuated from a building that had its roof ripped off by high winds.

Storm Elsa at 20:00 UTC on December 18, 2019. Credit: Meteosat-11

One person died in northern Portugal on December 19 when his house collapsed. Another one died near Lisbon when a tree crushed his truck.

Three people died in Spain on December 19 and 20 and another 3 on December 21.

Elsa caused widespread damage across Ireland on December 18, with western seaboard hit particularly hard. 

A second storm, named Fabian, is expected to impact the region over this weekend with even higher wind speeds, and possibly leading to more damage in southern Europe.

Forecast models

Featured image credit: Meteosat-11. Acquired 05:30 UTC on December 20, 2019

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