Residents of the Spanish capital of Madrid have been told to stay at home as the country braced itself for torrential rain and storms.
Spain’s national weather agency, AEMET, issued the most serious red alert, meaning possible extreme danger, covering the Madrid region, Toledo province, and the city of Cadiz.
The agency predicted up to 120 litres per square metre of rain could fall over 12 hours in Madrid.
Plus, emergency services sent warning texts to the capital’s residents warning them of the risks and advising them not to use cars.
Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, mayor of Madrid, shared a warning on social media which read: ‘Due to the exceptional and abnormal situation, in which rainfall records will be broken, I ask the people of Madrid to stay at home today.’
Authorities said they were ‘hoping for a positive outcome’ after a father and son went missing during the flooding.
Javier Chivite, spokesman for the emergency services in the region, said: ‘Two people are missing, a father and his son, they were in a vehicle that got in an avalanche caused by the spate of the Alberche river.
‘We hope this will have a positive outcome.’
LaLiga suspended an evening match between Atletico Madrid and Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid due to the alert.
In the Spanish capital alone, firefighters have been called out to tackle the flooding 190 times.
Madrid’s Metro system was also affected by the floods, and train lines between the capital and the eastern coastal area of Valencia were suspended.
In Alcanar, Tarragona, on Spain’s east coast, emergency services have also confined residents to their homes due to flooding after 215 litres per square metre of rain in the past 24 hours.
In the eastern province of Castelló, flooding prompted firefighters to rescue a man trapped in his car, which was surrounded by waist-high flood water, the BBC reports.
Several roads in the Madrid region were closed and half a dozen bridges were torn down by overflowing, fast-moving rivers, the Independent said.
Mr Martinez-Almeida said he was expecting ‘an exceptional and truly rare situation in terms of precipitation’ – as Madrid’s previous rainfall record of 87 litres per square metre in 1972 will ‘most likely be broken’.
The intense rain comes after Spain endured a heatwave in August, with a record temperature of 47.2°C recorded in the Andalusia region.
Spain’s meteorological agency said 24 heatwaves have been recorded over the last decade, twice the number in each of the previous three decades, Sky News reports.
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