Roads cut off, cities in lockdown, houses flooded: torrential rains fell over much of Spain on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September, including the Balearic archipelago.

It is a well-known phenomenon in Spain, called the "Dana", for "isolated depression of high levels", which gives rise, explains Aemet, the national meteorological agency, to "persistent and widespread rainfall, locally strong or very strong, accompanied by storms, throughout the territory with the exception of the Canary Islands".

According to the Ministry of the Interior, which has issued an alert over a large part of the territory, rainfall could reach 120 liters in 24 hours, or even 12 hours locally.

The authorities are all the more concerned that this weekend is the weekend of returns before the start of the school year and that the roads are likely to be very congested.

"Essential trips only": the Directorate General of Transport (DGT) reiterated throughout the day Sunday its calls "not to take the car and to stay at home, while many roads have been completely engulfed under water and cuts have multiplied.

The inhabitants of Madrid received a message inviting them to limit travel, Sunday, September 3, 2023. © Violeta Santos Moura, Reuters

Train traffic was also halted on several sections, said Renfe, the Spanish railway company that offered its users to postpone their journey free of charge.

Residents urged to stay at home

In Madrid, an alert sounded on all mobile phones in the region: "Due to the extreme risk of storms over the Madrid region today (...) Don't take your car and stay home."

In several cities of the country, mayors asked residents to stay at home in the face of the risk of flooding, such as the tourist Toledo, where Mayor Carlos Velázquez asked his citizens "to stay at home as much as possible".

In Alcanar, between Barcelona and Valencia (east), the population had to confine themselves "due to the accumulation of rain and possible flooding", said the rescue services, advising "residents to go to the upper floors of houses".

A flooded street in Alcanar, Sunday, September 3, 2023. © @anastasia.flidlider_watercolor, via Reuters

On Monday, "the center of the depression is expected to move away to the west and the Atlantic," Aemet predicts, adding that showers and thunderstorms will continue in the western half and center of the country. The agency estimates that the weather alert should end on Tuesday.

With AFP

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