In Images: Torrential flooding in Spain’s Navarre leaves one dead and towns under water

A man drowned in his car in Spain’s northern Navarre region on Friday after a huge downpour caused a local river to burst its banks and flood several nearby towns.

In Images: Torrential flooding in Spain's Navarre leaves one dead and towns under water
Photo: Twitter

Residents of the Navarre towns of Tafalla, Olite and Puello couldn’t believe their eyes when a sudden and gigantic downpour burst the banks of the local Cidacos river on Friday evening, flooding streets and local shopping centres as well as dragging cars through the streets. 

One man was reported by Navarre authorities to have drowned after his car was dragged by the floodwaters several kilometres downstream.

Railways and motorways near Tafalla had to stop operating as a result of the extreme downpour. Many of drivers caught in traffic were rescued from their cars by emergency services as they were at risk of being swept away.

“When I started seeing cars with their lights on actually floating down the Cidacos river I knew this was very serious,” one resident told Spanish broadcaster RTVE.

According to Olite authorities the Cidacos’s water level went from 11 centimetres to 4.23 metres in less than six hours, the highest level on record. 

Navarre has certainly got the worse of the violent downpour but a total of 31 provinces in Spain’s northern and eastern regions were on orange alert for hail, storms and heavy rains, including Aragón, La Rioja, Valencia and Castille and Leon.
The extreme weather front also reached Spain's northwestern region of Galicia. The province of Ourense also recorded serious flooding and severe hail storms. 

Spain’s national weather agency had actually given Navarre a yellow alert, but it was this autonomous community that bore the brunt of the violent weather.

The town of Olite saw 97.6 litres per square metre fall on Monday, the highest downpour in all of Spain. But in the nearby town of Guetadar the total after midnight was of 159.7 litres sq m and in Tafalla levels reached 100.2 litres sq m.

In the capital Pamplona Tuesday's morning running of the bulls (part of the San Fermines festivities) had to be cancelled because of heavy rain in the city. 



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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.