In the Spanish coastal regions of Valencia, Murcia and eastern Andalusia, extreme rainfall has caused severe damage. Five people died, their cars stuck in the water or swept by floods were deadly traps. In some places, there is more rain than ever before since records began in 1917.
In many cities muddy water masses tore vehicles and submerged the lower floors of houses. The army, which according to a spokesman with 1,000 soldiers in action, saved 60 people from a cut off by the floodplain campground.
In the region of Murcia rescuers freed 144 people from cars and flooded houses. Some had to get the police with helicopters from the roofs of their homes. Regional President Fernando López Miras told TVE: "The whole region of Murcia has been flooded - we have never experienced such a situation."
74 streets blocked
The Spanish weather service AEMET continued to regard the region as "extremely endangered" by further heavy rainfall. Some municipalities in the regions of Valencia and Murcia reported the highest rainfall ever recorded. In the city of Orihuela, about 200 kilometers south of Valencia, fell within six hours 120 liters of rain per square meter. The river Segura stepped over the shore. In Murcia, the police blocked all bridges for safety's sake.
Spain's Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska spoke to journalists about a "serious situation" on Friday, with around 3,000 rescue, police and army forces in disaster areas. More than 3,500 people had to leave their homes because of the thunderstorms and floods. Grande-Marlaska traveled to Orihuela, about five kilometers south of Redován, to get a glimpse of the damage on a helicopter ride.
74 streets were closed on Friday due to flooding, led the Interior Ministry. Video footage showed rescuers riding jet skis through a flooded highway tunnel. Residents waded through knee-high water in Redován.
The airport of the southern Spanish city of Murcia was closed on Friday. 22 flights to Palma de Mallorca were rerouted, as the airport operator Aena announced. The regional airport of Almería was closed for several hours. Two flights had to be canceled and two more diverted. Also some train connections failed. Numerous schools were closed, with around 700,000 students in the Valencia region alone.