Dramatic images evocating hurricane season in the Caribbean have surfaced as the Costa Blanca North experienced its most torrential rainfall in nearly a decade.
Hundreds of students were forced to evacuate schools across the Marina Alta as classrooms flooded and emergency services dealt with the very real risk of catastrophic electrical fires. In one fraught 10-minute period on Monday more than 14 litres of water per square metre struck the region causing substantial damage to school infrastructure.
Rail and aerial connections between the northern Costa Blanca and Catalonia were cancelled as the authorities raised emergency alert levels, having already established a yellow alert on Friday when meteorologists predicted a ‘monster’ rainfall.
The widespread rains ravaged the entire Valencian coast with almost 100 litres per square metre assaulting key towns and villages in the space of just 24 hours. In Puerto de Sagunto, Valencia, emergency services raced to the scene to rescue a woman stranded on the roof of her car as it slowly sank, the street transformed into a voracious river.
In Benitachell the semi-finals of the regional pilota handball competition had to be abandoned as hundreds of spectators ducked for cover, while across the province at least five people were rescued from cars, garages and homes.
Fortunately no fatalities or serious injuries have been recorded.
The State Meteorological Agency has confirmed that Monday’s downpour was the worst in at least nine years since October 2007, and came as the Spanish south coast was also battered by heavy rain over the weekend.
But every cloud has a silver lining and the torrents marked a dramatic departure from the severe drought which has impacted the Costa Blanca throughout the year, with hailstones even being recorded in Alicante.