“Cold drop” wreaks havoc in Spain’s eastern coast and Balearic Islands

Around 30 people were rescued from their cars as torrential rain batters the country, causing flooding, traffic problems and road closures

(Spanish audio)Video: FOTO: EFE | VÍDEO: ATLAS
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See the weather forecast across the Iberian peninsula

Spain has been hit by another bout of extreme weather, with the eastern coast and Balearic Islands battered by torrential rain and flooding. The unusual conditions are the result of the gota fría – literally “cold drop,” a term used in Spain to describe a sudden drop in temperatures along the east coast caused by the arrival of very cold polar air.

While the weather phenomenon is “typical” of Spanish fall weather in the Mediterranean, Spain’s national weather service AEMET says a drop of this intensity has not occurred since October 2008.

A local police office looks on as a tree is removed from a street in Valencia.
A local police office looks on as a tree is removed from a street in Valencia.Kai Foersterling (EFE)

The weather event hit on Thursday and will continue to escalate on Friday in Aragón, the north of Catalonia and the south of Valencia. AEMET has issued a red alert – the highest on the scale – for the provinces of Teruel, Tarragona and Castellón, an orange alert for “significant risk” for Valencia and the island of Mallorca, and a yellow alert for Zaragoza, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Soria, Barcelona and Alicante.

The “cold drop” causes flooding in Valencia. A total of 60 municipalities in Valencia and Castellón have suspended classes because of the rain. In this video, emergency services work during the night due to the heavy rain.

While the extreme weather has not caused any fatalities, it has led to significant problems in Castellón. Around 30 people had to be rescued from their cars across the province as the torrential rain turned streets into rivers. Around 240 millimeters of rain fell in Torreblanca and 235 millimeters in El Palmar. Homes were flooded in Alcossebre and 40 residents were forced to find shelter in a sports center in Burriana. The rain has disrupted train routes and university classes in Valencia have been suspended. The Valencia region received 1,906 calls for help between 11pm last night and 6am today.

San Marcos de Godecia square, Valencia

In the Balearic Islands, emergency services have responded to 34 incidents including flooding in Manacor, on Mallorca, which is still recovering from the flash flooding that left 13 people dead last week. In Murcia, various roads were closed after 60.5 millimeters of rain fell in El Palmar. The roads have since been reopened.

“When faced with a meteorological risk like this one, we should remain calm and stay at home,” José Pedro Espada, a psychology professor at Miguel Hernández University in Elche told EL PAÍS. “Fear can lead us to take reckless and disproportionate action.”

English version by Melissa Kitson.

Bétera 10:26 rain is falling heavily, the drains are overflowing. Lots of lightning.

These are some recent images. We continue to be alert to the heavy rain, the most intense downpours are in the provinces of Valencia, Mallorca and Tarragona.

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