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Severe floods hit parts of eastern Spain after 4 months’ worth of rain in 24 hours


Torrential rains led to flash flooding in the coastal parts of Valencia, Spain, on Tuesday, March 31 into April 1, 2020. Up to 147 mm (5.8 inches) of rain fell in the region– four times the average rainfall for this time of the year, which is 34 to 39 mm (1.3 to 1.5 inches). Castellon was also hit bad after recording up to 150 mm (5.9 inches) of rain– its highest daily rainfall since 1976.

The Castellon region has been affected badly, as well as the towns of Almassora, Burriana, and Villafranca. Inundations were worsened by the runoff of rainwater from the Desert de Les Palmes mountains, which rise inland to the city's northern area.

Many properties were damaged and people were forced to evacuate. Firefighters rescued 91 residents who were trapped in their homes or vehicles in more than 40 operations– mostly in Almassora, but also in Borriana and Oropesa del Mar.

In Almassora, the city council has provided accommodation to around 20 people affected by the flooding along the coast.

Together with firefighters, the local police, municipal maintenance, logistic service, and the civil guard were involved in the clearing of accumulated floodwater in the streets of the municipality's beach.

Mayor Merche Gali assured people that the council will facilitate their temporary displacement until the beach goes back to normal.

On Wednesday, Castellon received its highest daily precipitation since 1976 after 150 mm (5.9 inches) of rain, according to AEMET spokesperson Ruben del Campo.

It also surpassed values of rainier seasons, such as those of early autumn or late summer, del Campo added.

The municipality of La Pobla Tornesa registered 197.6 mm (7.7 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period to Wednesday, while Vilafames saw 48 mm (1.9 inches).

Other areas also broke rainfall records, including Atzeneta where 133 mm (5.3 inches) of rain fell– the highest since AEMET started record-keeping in 1948.

"Never in this period and in the month of March had It rained so much," said physicist Melchor Rovira. "It is not normal for such torrential rains to occur outside of autumn. If this falls in the autumn, with the warm sea, there are no houses left. Now is when the sea temperature is colder and that complicates that more extreme episodes can occur."

Meanwhile, cities in the southeastern region Murcia and Albacete were hit by hailstorms on March 30. This caused flooding in the towns of Caravaca de la Cruz and Hellin.

Featured image credit: Provincial Council of Castellon

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