Hundreds of incidents, injuries and fire due to a severe storm in northern Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
storm incidents

PROVINCIA DE PONTEVEDRA – Gusts and torrential rain from storm Beatrice have led to more than 300 incidents in Galicia. Flights in Bilbao also had to be diverted, two were injured by falling trees and a forest fire broke out in Balmaseda. 

The intense storm, the second of the season after Armand, sent weather alerts to 12 autonomous regions in the north and northwestern half of the country on Sunday. Gusts of more than 110 kilometres per hour and heavy rainfall were the reason for this. 

Galicia, is coded orange due to rain accumulating over 40 litres per square metre. And along with high winds and waves of up to 8 metres, four other regions are also orange alerted for one or more of the above conditions. These are Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León and La Rioja. 

Code yellow was given by Aemet to seven other communities: Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalonia, Extremadura, Madrid, Navarra and the Basque Country. There are particular concerns in the region of Extremadura. In Cáceres 40 litres of water per square metre were collected in 12 hours. The wind here was up to 80 kilometres per hour. Badajoz was hit hard on Saturday. Here, the streets turned to pools of water and firefighters had to respond to numerous incidents. 

More than 300 incidents in Galicia due to the storm 

According to data from Aemet, very strong wind gusts were registered in different parts of the north of the country. In recent hours, they reached 132 kilometres and 131 kilometres per hour at the Valdezcaray station (La Rioja) and Cap de Vaquèira (Lleida), respectively, and 76 kilometres per hour at, among others, Vitoria airport. 

In terms of rainfall, the quantities in Galicia stand out. For example;

  • 69 litres per square metre in the O Rosal station (Pontevedra)
  • 50.6 litres in the municipality of Rois (A Coruña)
  • 43.3 litres per square metre in Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña)

The Galician community, emergency number 112 registered 331 incidents and one person was injured when a tree fell on the car he was driving in Mondariz (Pontevedra). The road was also closed as a result. Emergency services are also calling for caution due to the storm on the coast that could cause waves of between 6 to 8 metres in height. 

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Forest fire in Balmaseda 

In the Basque Country, the government has activated the “special emergency plan for the risk of forest fires” in “phase 1” because of the fire that broke out in the Balmaeda area of ​​the province of Bizkaia. Even though the fire had several sources, it is now under control. However, at least one home has been hit by the fire and several are at risk. In addition, about 17 people had to be evacuated. 

A total of 75 people with 16 vehicles and more than thirty men are working to extinguish the fire. These teams focus their extinguishing activities on the border area between Balmaseda and Zalla. This is where the greatest risk exists for people and goods. The weather forecasts indicate that the wind will die down in the coming hours, which should make extinguishing easier. 

The Biscayan region of Encartaciones in the Basque Country has been most affected by the strong wind gusts. Many trees have been blown down or branches have fallen on various roads. This has resulted in Adif stopping rail traffic in Balmaseda before 11.00 am. 

In Barakaldo, a man was injured when he was hit by a container that had been displaced by the wind on Anaitasuna Street in the city of Biscay. He has been hospitalised. 

Flights diverted in Bilbao due to the wind 

Nine flights had to be diverted at Bilbao airport due to high winds; two of them, from Madrid with a planned landing in Bilbao, have returned to their starting point and three from Palma, London and Bristol have been diverted to Barcelona airport. 

Also torrential rain in Madrid 

But not only the north is affected by the storm; In Madrid, according to the Aemet’s predictions, the heavy rains will accumulate to 40 litres in twelve hours in the mountains. This rain is accompanied by wind with an intensity of 80 kilometres per hour. In Aragon, wind speeds of over 100 kilometres per hour are also expected; up to 110 kilometres per hour 

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