Southeast Spain storm, 250000 pupils out of school as storm

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Southeast Spain storm, 250000 pupils out of school as storm.

Raging floods have left areas of southeast Spain on red alert as the region reels from the heaviest rainfall in more than a century.

Overnight torrential rain fell sparking flooding in the Valencia region and officials closed schools today affecting more than 250,000 children.

Videos from the towns of Moixent and Ontinyent show cars being caught up in the water and people struggling against the current to walk around.

An elderly couple in their 70s died when their car overturned and was swept away as fast-moving waters swamped a road in Caudete, around 60 miles from Valencia.

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Three container lorries were also overturned while on a ferry bound for Majorca which was battered by waves thought to be eight metres high.

Spanish weather service AEMET classified the region as being ‘at extreme risk’ as it forecast downpours of up to 90mm an hour and up to 180mm over 24 hours.

It is thought that the weather has been caused by the meteorological phenomenon called ‘cold drop’.

This often occurs in the Spanish autumn and often brings heavy rain and floods.

The storm is passing over the Mediterranean coast regions of Valencia, Murcia and Alicante during Thursday and Friday.

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One of the first places to be hit was Ontinyent, a town south of Valencia, where the River Clariano flooded the streets Wednesday night.

Almost 300 litres of rain per square meter fell in 24 hours, which AEMET says is the heaviest recorded there since 1917.

Brown water rushed through streets, washing away cars, and almost reaching the tops of the front doors of houses along the riverbank.

Despite the chaos called by the extreme weather, no injuries were reported.

The local Spanish government representative in Murcia, Francisco Jimenez, advised people to take ‘maximum precaution’ and said Thursday ‘is a good day to stay at home.’

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‘Please maximise caution and avoid putting yourself in danger to take photos. Avoid driving,’ Ontinyent town hall warned on Twitter.

With the region on red alert, regional authorities in Valencia said they had ordered the closure of schools in 84 municipalities, affecting more than 255,000 pupils.

Local authorities in the neighbouring region of Murcia also ordered the closure of all schools on Thursday and Friday due to the heavy rain. A university was also closed.

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