Three dead after heavy rain in Spain causes widespread floods

Streets were flooded after record rainfall hit the central region

Floods kill at least three in Spain

Floods kill at least three in Spain
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At least three people died and three others were missing as record rainfall caused heavy flooding in central Spain.

Flooding shut roads, subway lines and high-speed train connections, authorities said on Monday.

Helicopters were sent to rescue people who had sought refuge on the roofs of their homes in the Toledo area some 50km south-west of Madrid, emergency services said.

The sudden downpour on Sunday and early Monday transformed streets into rivers of mud that swept away cars and bins in Madrid, Castile-La Mancha, Catalonia and Valencia regions.

Three people died in the countryside around the central city of Toledo, where the weather service AEMET registered record rainfall of 90 litres per square metre on Sunday.

One of the victims was a young man who was trapped in a lift that filled up with water, while another was inside a vehicle that flooded, police said.

The third person who died was a man, 50, who had been reported as missing. His body was found in the afternoon floating in a river near his home in the town of Camarena.

“It just kept raining and we were a little scared, but we were indoors so we were safe,” said Isabella Stewart, a US missionary living in Toledo.

Another Toledo resident, Ruben Gonzalez, said: “I live four blocks away and it was very strong. Everything is flooded. This is crazy.”

Later on Monday, AEMET said a cut-off low phenomenon – also known as weatherman's woe – had caused the downpour and was starting to move away from the country.

In the Madrid region, emergency services tackled almost 1,200 incidents overnight and firefighters and police were searching for one man in the rural area of Aldea del Fresno, south-west of Madrid, the emergency services said.

The man went missing with his son when their car was dragged into the Alberche River.

“The minor was rescued after he had climbed up a tree,” the Madrid emergency service said.

Rescuers were also looking for a woman who disappeared under similar circumstances near Toledo and for a man, 84, who was dragged away by streams of water and mud in Villamanta, west of Madrid.

Several roads in the region were closed as half a dozen bridges were torn down by water overflowing the riverbanks.

The Defence Ministry said it had deployed army engineers to build a Bailey bridge – a type of portable truss bridge – in Aldea del Fresno to connect the banks after the original bridge was swept away.

Several rail lines were closed in central Madrid early on Monday, though the service was re-established in most of the city during the morning, subway operator Metro de Madrid said.

Some high-speed connections between Madrid and the southern region of Andalusia have resumed, but trains were operating at lower-than-normal speeds.

Updated: September 05, 2023, 1:26 PM