AT LEAST SIX people, including a young girl and an elderly woman, died yesterday as floods in southern Spain overturned cars and forced hundreds to flee their homes, officials said.
At least 600 people had to be evacuated from their homes in the Andalusia region, with some forced to take refuge on their roofs as torrential rains caused rivers to break their banks, flooding roads and rail routes.
By early today, the storms were moving east towards the port of Valencia.
A woman in her 80s died early yesterday when a river breached its banks and flood water swept past her home in Alora, north of Malaga, a regional government spokesman told AFP.
According to provincial officials, two others died later in the same Andalusia region, while three others were killed in the neighbouring region of Murcia, including a 10-year-old girl.
In the village of Villanueva del Trabuco, roads were covered in brown floodwater and teams were working to unearth cars while locals swept the muddy pavements.
“In Malaga province, there are 800 staff working to return things to normal as quickly as possible,” said emergency services spokeswoman Pilar Limon.
“The rains are decreasing and seem to be shifting towards Granada and Almeria” further east, she added.
The state weather agency AEMET said some 245mm of water per square metre had fallen in the area in the morning alone.
Airports authority AENA said a flight was diverted to Seville as it headed to Malaga, which lies east of the resort city of Marbella on the Costa del Sol, a popular tourist haven.
At least two major highways were closed, authorities said.
In the neighbouring southeastern region of Murcia, a highway bridge collapsed in the heavy rains, national television TVE reported.
Valencia’s port authorities ordered the port closed early today as the storms approached. A tornado there swept though the city, injuring 35 people, according to Spanish media.