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Raging flash floods hit Zaragoza, causing widespread damage to infrastructure and crops, Spain

Raging flash floods hit Zaragoza, causing widespread damage to infrastructure and crops, Spain

Hailstorms and torrential rain caused widespread flooding and significant damage in Zaragoza, Spain, on July 6, 2023. The extreme weather trapped people in their cars and homes, damaged infrastructure, and severely impacted the region’s agricultural sector.

The State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) reported that the town of Alcañiz, situated in Teruel Province, received 46 mm (1.8 inches) of rain in a matter of hours, with 27.6 mm (1.1 inches) falling within 10 minutes. Similarly, the weather station at Valdespartera in Zaragoza recorded 54 mm (2.1 inches) during the storm, with 19.6 mm (0.77 inches) falling in just 10 minutes.

Government officials from the Aragón region confirmed that many roads were blocked and residences flooded in areas of Teruel and Zaragoza provinces. Some residents of a flooded house in Alcañiz had to be evacuated and temporarily housed in a hostel. The heavy hailstorm caused severe damage to fruit crops in the agricultural areas of Bajo Aragón, Calatayud, and Cariñena.

Dramatic footage circulated on social media showcased the terrifying speed at which floodwaters engulfed central Zaragoza. One of the hardest-hit areas was the Z-30 road in the Parque Venecia neighborhood, where floodwaters reached depths of up to 2 m (6.6 feet). Firefighters had to stage daring rescues for approximately a dozen people stranded on their vehicle roofs or clinging to trees. Out of the rescued, six individuals were sent to the hospital for evaluations or treatment of minor injuries.

The severe weather caused substantial infrastructure damage, including a severely damaged school building and multiple flooded roads in the city. Rail and tram services in the region were significantly disrupted. Traffic lights malfunctioned in some parts of the city such as Avenida Ciudad de Soria or Caminos del Norte, requiring local police to manually regulate intersections.

In areas outside the city, such as Cuarte de Huerva and Cadrete, flooding was also widespread, damaging homes and roads. A building in El Burgo de Ebro, southeast of Zaragoza, had its roof destroyed by heavy rainfall, leading to the evacuation of two residents, who were thankfully unharmed.

Vineyards in the town of Paniza suffered devastating losses, with farmers reporting a complete wipeout of their crops due to large hailstones that damaged the fruit. Cereal, olive, and almond crops were also affected.

The storm, which lasted for approximately one and a half hours, moved away from Zaragoza, leaving the authorities to assess the damage and provide assistance to those affected. No severe injuries or fatalities were reported, but a few minor vehicular accidents occurred due to poor visibility and slippery conditions.

References:

1 Spain – Dramatic Flash Floods in Zaragoza After 20mm of Rain in 10 Minutes – FloodList – July 7, 2023

2 Hailstorm and flash floods wreak havoc in Zaragoza, Spain – BNN – July 7, 2023

Featured image credit: rtve (stillshot)

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