DISCUSSION: Flash flooding wreaked havoc across Southern Spain over the weekend, killing one woman in the basement of a nightclub early Sunday morning. Many towns across Spain’s Costa del Sol experienced the worst flooding in more than 30 years when a month’s worth of rainfall fell in less than 24 hours. A slow moving low pressure system of the Western coast of Spain was responsible for the heavy rainfall encountered over the weekend. Many residents and tourists (as the city of Malaga is a popular tourist destination) were caught off guard as the rain continued to fall on Sunday. Videos posted to Meteo Europe’s Facebook page show streets turning into rivers as the water rushed to lower elevation. Early Sunday morning, Spain’s Meteorological Service issued a ‘Red Alert’, the highest level of warning for “extreme risk” of flooding, later in the day once the rainfall began to taper off the meteorological service lowered the warming level down to an “important risk” level which is considered an ‘Orange Alert’ in Spain.
The town of Estepona was particularly hard hit by this storm as the Meteorological Service reported that over 100 cubic meters of rainfall fell during this flash flooding event. During the heavy rainfall event a 26-year-old Romanian woman working in the basement of a nightclub was overcome by the quick rising flood waters and unfortunately drowned when emergency officials were unable to reach her in time. Witnesses say that responders desperately tried to free the woman, but each attempt was unsuccessful. So far, only 1 death has been reported due to the flood waters, however officials fear there may be more. Several people were injured and many vehicles were abandoned and destroyed. In one town, the flood waters were powerful enough to knock down a wall onto cars parked in the street. Thankfully, nobody was injured. Emergency officials responded to over 600 calls for help during this 24-hour period. Dry conditions should prevail for at least the next several days across the region as residents throughout the affected communities begin the daunting task of cleaning up.
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~ Meteorologist Jake Keiser