THE torrential rain that has battered south-eastern Spain and the Balearic Islands since Friday afternoon is not predicted to ease off until the afternoon of Monday, December 19.
Over the last 48 hours, emergency services have received 1,352 calls in the Valencian Community, 359 in Murcia and 151 in Almeria.
Local authorities in Granada, Almeria, Murcia, Alicante, Valencia and southern Teruel have extended the orange weather warning into tomorrow, with residents advised to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.
Coastal parts of Murcia, the Valencian Community and Balearics are likely to be the worst hit, with 150-200 litres of water per square meter potentially falling in the next 12 hours.
These areas will also be struck by force 7 to 8 north-easterly winds and waves of up to four metres in height.
Residents are asked to avoid travelling by car and to remove their vehicles from potential flood zones immediately. If you absolutely must drive, avoid crossing rivers and streams, which may experience flash floods.
Schools will be closed until Tuesday at the earliest in the municipalities of Murcia, Cartagena, Molina, Abanilla, Abaran, Albudeite, Alcantarilla, Alhama, Aledo, Los Alcazares, Beniel, Blanca, Campos del Rio, Ceuti, Fortuna, Fuente Alamo, Lorca, Mazarron, Mula, Pliego, Santomera, San Javier, San Pedro, Torre Pacheco, Totana and La Union, while doors will also remain shut at the universities of Murcia, UCAM and Cartagena Polytechnic.
In the Valencian Community, the tempest has caused numerous roadblocks, and the ports of Sagunto and Gandia have been rendered inaccessible to maritime traffic.
The water in the new Rio Turia channel in Valencia City is at an all-time high, and on Saturday night firefighters rescued three youngsters on Pas de la Sabotxa after the Rio Magre burst its banks.
In Javea, a visually-striking results of the rainfall was evident, as ash from the great fire in September washed down from the Granadella natural park, forming an ominous black lagoon near the beach.
The CV-304 linking Alfara del Patriarca with Vinalesa has been closed because it passes through the Carraixet ravine, while in Murcia the N-332 is shut in the Murcia-Alicante direction between San Pedro del Pinatar and Pilar de la Horadada.
The Tajo-Segura transfer canal is at tipping point and has already overflowed in some areas, such as Torre Pacheco.
The Rio Tajo itself was recorded to be discharging up to 100 cubic meters per second on Sunday, with local police in Murcia City forced to close several flooded streets, including Reino de Murcia, calle Aranjuez, rambla de Espinardo, rambla de Churra, rambla de El Bojar in Beniajan and paso Los Carros in Sangonera.
The wind and rain are also wreaking havoc in Cartagena, where a man had to be rescued from rambla de Benipila, a number of trees have fallen and more than a dozen roads are cut off.
There was drama in Molino de Leon after emergency services received a call that a 33-year-old woman was in labour but unable to leave the village due to floodwater. The baby was eventually delivered by her husband and a local Guardia Civil officer as a doctor dispensed instructions over the phone.
The Sierra Espuña natural park is completely cut off from Alhama de Murcia due to landslides.
In Granada, the A-396 near Monachil is currently off-limits, as is the A-337 at Nevada, while heavy snowfall is expected above 1,200 metres in eastern Andalucia and Teruel.
We urge readers to take care, and please heed advice to remain indoors and avoid driving in the areas where such appeals have been issued.