Flooding that hit south-eastern Spain has claimed the lives of two people who were in their car as it was tragically overturned by torrential rains, and the unstable and dangerous weather has prompted authorities to close schools in a move affecting hundreds of thousands of children and subsequently causing travel chaos, AFP reported on Thursday, September 12th.
The two victims have been identified as a 61-year-old man and his 51-year-old sister. They died when their vehicle was swept away as fast-moving waters swamped a road in Caudete, a municipality around 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of the city of Valencia, the emergency services said.
In Albacete province, where Caudete is located, fire-fighters rescued 13 people who were trapped inside their cars or on the rooftops of their homes, the emergency services added.
Official reports have indicated that the rain prompted the Clariano River to burst its banks, flooding homes and causing the evacuation of surrounding areas, while causing a devastating chaos on the roads and cutting public transport.
Footage shared by the local AVAMET weather service showed cars being swept away in fast-flowing water in Moixent and torrents of water engulfing the nearby town of Ontinyent, which borders the Clariano and saw its heaviest rainfall since records began in 1917, the agency said.
Ontinyent’s town hall warned on Twitter that people should maximise caution and avoid putting themselves in danger to take photos, and to avoid driving under any circumstances.
With the region on red alert, regional authorities in Valencia said they had ordered the closure of schools in 84 municipalities, affecting more than 255,000 pupils, whereas local authorities in the neighbouring region of Murcia also ordered the closure of all schools on Thursday and Friday due to the heavy rain. A university was also closed.
It has been noted by the national AEMET weather service that both torrential rain and high winds were continuing to batter southern Valencia, northern Alicante, and Murcia, and would likely continue into Friday, September 13th, according to AFP.