IN PICS: Schools close, roads flood and trees felled as Spain battered by Storm Elsa

Spain was lashed by winds up to 130km at hour, torrential rain and massive waves as Storm Elsa wreaked havoc across the country.

IN PICS: Schools close, roads flood and trees felled as Spain battered by Storm Elsa
Waves crash against a prominade in northern Spain. Photo: AFP

In Galicia schools were closed while in Huelva in the south, towns were flooded and in Valencia roads were blocked by fallen trees.  

Much of Spain was issued with orange weather alerts indicating significant risk by the state meteorological agency Aemet.

Galicia in the northwest of Spain bore the brunt of the storm as it rolled in off the Atlantic. Rivers burst their banks, schools closed and more than 1,000 incidents were reported to emergency services as a result of the storm.

The south west was also badly affected with footage showing floods in Huelva.

In cities across Spain on Thursday, including Madrid and Seville, authorities took the step of closing the public parks as there was a risk of falling trees and branches in the high winds. 

Elsa is the second of three storms destined for the Iberian Peninsula this week.

Early in the week, Storm Daniel hit and when Elsa passes it will be the turn of Storm Fabien.

Waves off the Atlantic coast and Cantabriam coast were predicted to reach up to 9 metres in height on Sunday, warned Aemet.

Temperatures were higher than normal for Christmas, AEMET said. 

Footage showed a rather tricky landing at Bilbao's airport:


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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.