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Costa Blanca flooding sparks major rescue operation

Emergency crews have been forced to carry out rescue operations after heavy flooding in Murcia – a region of Spain popular with British tourists on Wednesday.

It comes after downpours swept across the Costa Blanca and Balearic Islands earlier this week, triggering severe travel disruption with flights grounded in Spain’s third largest airport.

Dramatic footage showed raging waters tearing through a town centre after a downpour that lasted for 20 minutes led to more rain than is usually received throughout the entire summer, according to reports by the State Meterological Agency (AEMET).

According to Spanish broadcaster Cadena SER, citing Spain’s emergency services, 200 out of the 221 emergency calls made in Costa Blanca were related to the storm, while Murcia saw 113 calls to emergency services. The Daily Mail reported that several people were trapped in their cars following heavy flooding.

The Emergency Coordination Centre 112 was also called out to 324 issues related to rain and storms, of which most were because the water was not draining correctly or because trees and other obstacles had blocked the road, according to Murcia Today.

In Calasparra, the fire brigade had to rescue a person who became trapped in their car when they attempted to cross a road, before they were taken to hospital with hypothermia.

Meanwhile, Storm Tamara led to travel chaos in Palma Airport earlier this week, leaving panicked travellers stranded with over 100 planes cancelled or delayed due to the severe weather.

Majorca’s airport had to be closed on Tuesday after severe rain flooded the runways, with British tourists hoping to return to Gatwick, Luton, and Bristol having their flights affected by the storms.

Flights to the island had to be redirected to alternative destinations and roads around the airport were closed after the intense flooding.

Palma airport is the third biggest in Spain and had over 30 million passengers in 2023, an increase of 8.9 per cent compared to the previous year, according to figures from AENA.

Figures from Spain’s state weather service AEMET found that 71.8 millimeters of rain fell at its station at the airport in just four hours.

Video footage from inside the airport terminal show water gushing through the roof, images showed flood waters almost reaching the bottom of plane engines, while a separate video posted to social media showed one airport worker, joyfully plunging backwards into the water on a flooded runway.

Operations were “temporarily suspended” but the airport has since re-opened.

Similar images were seen across Costa Blanca over the last few days as footage showed torrential rain and hail stones falling in some parts of Valencia, while Benidorm experienced heavy showers after a yellow storm alert with put in place.

There are currently no weather warnings in place across Spain, with bright spells expected across Murcia, Valencia and Las Palmas today.

Europe has experienced similar volatile weather, with a heatwave blanketing Turkey and Greece, while 43C was recorded in Cyprus last week, prompting wildfires.

Turkey is seeing air temperatures soar eight to 12 degrees above seasonal norms, while earlier this week, Greece was forced to close the ancient Acropolis in Athens.

In France, hundreds of firefighters were battling a powerful blaze to the north of Saint-Tropez as Europe brazes itself for another season of hooter-than-average temperatures due to the climate crisis.



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