At least three people have died and two are missing in Spain after heavy rains triggered flash floods and impacted transportation systems.
The weekend storm affected almost the whole country, with the heaviest rains recorded on Sunday in the coastal provinces of Cadiz, Tarragona and Castello, according to the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET).
Three people died in the countryside around Toledo, where the weather service Aemet registered record rainfall of 90 litres per square metre on Sunday.
Spanish media said a man was found dead by police during a rescue attempt on a road near Bargas, while another man died as rescuers tried to reach him in the tow of Casarrubios del Monte. The third person who died was a 50-year-old man who had been reported as missing. His body was found on Monday afternoon floating in a river near his home in the town of Camarena.
On Sunday, residents of the Madrid region received an emergency text in Spanish and English accompanied by a loud alarm urging them not to use their vehicles and stay at home due to the “extreme risk of storms”.
It was the first time the authorities had used this mobile phone alert system.
Several theatres in the capital closed early on Sunday, while a football match between Atletico Madrid and Sevilla was suspended.
On Monday, a number of metro lines also closed in Madrid during the morning rush hour due to flooding caused by heavy overnight rains, although by early afternoon only a few stations near the Manzanares River remained shut.
High-speed rail links between Madrid and the southwestern region of Andalusia and the east coast region of Valencia, which closed on Sunday, reopened on Monday although trains were running at slower speeds in some sections, railway operator Renfe said.
The heavy rainfall eased on Monday morning. AEMET lowered its alert level for the Madrid region to yellow from a maximum red alert on Sunday.
The torrential weather comes after Spain, which has endured three years of scant rainfall that has prompted some regions to impose water-use restrictions, endured an intense heatwave and persistent high temperatures in August.
Scientists warn that extreme weather marked by heatwaves and storms is becoming more intense as a result of climate change.
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