A VISCOUS storm in Spain has brought chaos to the country and left four dead thus far.
A red alert for Storm Gloria was issued Sunday, warning it would bring heavy rain, snow and up to 120 kmh (75mph) winds. Nine provinces were given red warnings. They were Teruel, Albacete, Murcia, Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona, Valencia, Alicante and Castellón.
According to the Spanish State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), the storm is expected to move towards the north-west of Spain today, with the bad weather unlikely to subside before Wednesday.
RECAP: Storm Gloria storm leaves 4 dead, 200,000 children unable to attend school and numerous roads cut, towns flooded and crops destroyed.
The red weather warning with forecasts for heavy snow in the east of the peninsula, left around 191,000 students in Valencia without classes yesterday as well as some 3,000 students in Castilla-La Mancha and 462 students in Castilla y León.
In Catalonia, schools were also closed, although to a lesser extent, only in parts of the Maresme, Terra Alta and Vallès Oriental regions due to snowfalls and strong gales.
Air transport has suffered the inclement weather and about 22,000 passengers from 179 aircraft have been affected by the cancellation or diversion of their flights yesterday, Monday, as a result of the closure of the airport of Alicante-Elche, the fifth busiest airport in Spain.
Numerous roads have been cut with traffic restrictions affecting thousands of kilometres of roads across Spain, with special emphasis on the eastern third of the peninsula and points in the northern half of the country.
In Andalusia, the accumulation of snow made traffic difficult on the A-92 motorway, which keeps the Puerto de la Mora and two sections between Guadix, Baza and the border with the province of Murcia, where several vehicles were trapped, while in the Community of Valencia there are cuts in the A-31 and A-33 and in the A-7.
The Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) issued warnings to avoid driving in “high-risk” areas due to the heavy snowfall. Advising getting behind the wheel only if essential, and to be done at low speed or, better, postpone the trip if not urgent.
In the Valencian Community alone and in the last 24 hours, the storm has left almost 268 litres of rain per square metre in Beniarrés (Alicante), gusts of wind in the last three hours of 115 kilometres per hour in Oliva (Valencia) and waves that have exceeded 8 metres.
The mayor of Onteniente, in Valencia, Jorge Rodríguez, decreed last night the eviction of the Canterería neighbourhood due to the danger of the Clariano river overflowing its banks.
Some 40 residents of the Canterería have had to leave their homes yesterday evening due to the danger of water flooding the houses.
Rail transport, especially long and medium distance Euromed and Talgo trains, as in the C-6 suburban line, have been affected by the storm in the Valencian Community, whose passengers have been forced to be transferred by road, while the AVE has also suffered some delays due to speed limitations.
Sources from RENFE have reported that the AVE Valencia-Madrid and Alicante-Madrid are now running “normally”, except for “small delays” of between 8 and 10 minutes due to speed limitations at 160 kilometres per hour in the area between Minglanilla and Requena, as well as between Villena and Caudete.
The strong gusts of wind recorded, have caused in the municipality of Orihuela (Alicante) two people to suffer injuries after a palm tree fell on a vehicle in circulation on the road CV-91, which links Orihuela and Almoradí.
In the Balearic Islands, over 150 incidents have been registered across the four islands, most of them due to falling trees and water accumulation on urban roads.
In the city of Barcelona, all the parks, the zoo, the beaches and the jetties are closed, according to firemen’s sources, and the poor state of the sea forced the cancellation of the ferry services that sail from Barcelona to the Balearic Islands.
In the midst of the chaos, 35,000 residents of Villain, Valencia faced seven hour snowfall, which blocked roads in and out of town and left them isolated.
Ploughs were seen clearing the roads in Vilafranca, 40 miles from the Valencian coast, as piles of snow made some highways impassable.
Without a doubt, one of the worst storms registered in Spain in recent years.