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STORM

Big freeze: Red alert as severe storms sweep across Spain

Extreme wind, rain and snow across the country killed one toddler and left several other people injured at the weekend. But more bad weather is set to come.

Big freeze: Red alert as severe storms sweep across Spain
Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP

A three-year-old boy was killed on Sunday after being hit on the head with a piece of building debris, most likely broken off due to strong winds recorded in the southwest province of Huelva, according to broadcaster RTVE.

A 73-year-old fisherman in Cantabria also went missing along the coast and severe weather conditions forced officials to suspend the search for him.

In Galicia, heavy snowfall blocked roads, stranding dozens of drivers who were forced to abandon their cars on Sunday night.

“A hug for our colleagues in Galicia after hours in the cold rescuing drivers trapped in the snow.”

In Alicante, a 47-year-old wind surfer was dragged for 300 metres by strong winds, eventually landing on the roof of a cottage, according to newspaper Las Provincias. The ordeal caused the man to suffer a head injury and break his leg.

Damage like fallen trees and signs due to strong winds and rain was reported across other parts of Spain, including in the western province of Extremadura.

“Damage caused by the wind in Don Benito. Fortunately no damage to people.”

Spain's weather service AEMET predicts that severe conditions will continue through Monday, with parts of northern and southern Spain on orange or “significant alert” for snow and high winds.

AEMET on Sunday also put Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria on red or “extreme risk” alert for wind and snow on Monday.

In an advisory posted last week by Spain's Commission for Civil Defense and Emergencies, the commission recommended staying away from coastal areas during intense winds and to check weather conditions before driving.

They also warned photographers not to risk their own safety by trying to snap a picture of high waves.

Last week a toddler was swept off a beach in Asturias by a giant wave.

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WEATHER

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings

Nine Spanish regions were put on alert on Tuesday for heavy snow, rain and strong winds, with the country's traffic authorities calling for people taking holidays this long weekend to head home early to avoid the worst of the bad weather.

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings
Vehicles stuck in traffic due to a heavy snowfall near Burgos, northern Spain, in March 2021. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

Aragón, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country will be on orange alert from Tuesday for snow storms, while Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja and La Comunidad Valenciana are on the less-severe yellow alert, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) announced.

A slight increase in temperatures will increase the risk of avalanches in the Pyrenees and the central Cantabrian mountain range.

Some roads in the north of the country are already being affected by snow and are being restricted to some traffic such as trucks and heavy vehicles.

Spain’s traffic authority (DGT) called on residents in the northern half of the country to return early from the puente (long weekend) marked by the public holidays of December 6 and 8, ahead of heavy snow forecast for Wednesday.

Of the 108 main roads affected by the heavy snow in Spain, almost half of them are in the northeastern region Aragón.

Aragón, Catalonia and Navarra are at risk of avalanches, according to data from Aemet, while a storm warning has been issued for the coastal areas of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Catalonia and the Basque country.

Heavy rainfall is expected in Galicia, extending to Cantabria and the western Pyrenees.

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