Flood death toll rises to seven as body of missing Dutchman found in San Fulgencio

Police have recovered the body of a 66-year-old Dutchman missing since being swept away by flashfloods in the Alicante region on Sunday.

Flood death toll rises to seven as body of missing Dutchman found in San Fulgencio
Photo: AFP

Guardia Civil confirmed that the body was found in the Canal de la Reina in San Fulgencio, a town in the Vega Baja region of Alicante that was among the worst affected by the storms.

The man, who has not been publically named, was swept away by strong currents in rising floodwater on Sunday afternoon, and became the seventh victim of the “gota fria”.

The alarm was raised on Sunday after a man was sucked into flood water in a canal at Dolores, a town 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Alicante.

The body, matching a description by the Dutchman's family, was recovered in San Fulgencio village several kilometres (miles) away, said a central governent spokesman in the region.

Southeastern Spain has been battered since Thursday by torrential rains, causing huge flooding and chaos on the roads in several provinces, leaving many areas cut off.

The cold front and ensuing storms are the worst in 140 years according to official weather sources. Rivers burst their banks, towns and villages were and remain flooded and thousands have been displaced.

At least 30,000 hectares of agricultural land has been destroyed across Valencia, Alicante, Murcia and also further inland in Albacete.

READ MORE: Satellite images reveal how the worst storms in Spain in 140 years have flooded the land 

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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.