1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Spain flooding: 3 dead, 3 missing after heavy rainfall

September 4, 2023

The sudden deluge turned streets in central Spain into rivers of mud. In the Madrid region, cars were swept away and bridges collapsed.

Cars are stranded on a flooded road, following heavy rain in Toledo
Cars were swept away by the floodwater in Toledo and other central citiesImage: Isabel Infantes/REUTERS

At least three people died and three others were missing on Monday after heavy rainfall caused flash flooding in central Spain.

The storm brought raging winds, lightning and hail to the region over the weekend. It also caused widespread damage, sweeping away cars, uprooting trees and shutting roads, subway lines and high-speed rail links.

In Toledo, around 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of the capital, Madrid, helicopters were sent to rescue people trapped on the roofs of their homes.

Torrents of floodwater rush next to homes in Alcanar, Spain
The sudden rainfall turned streets into rushing rivers, as seen in this still image obtained from social media footageImage: MAITE GARCIA-COOPER/REUTERS

Three people still missing

Three people died in the countryside around Toledo, where a record of 90 liters of rainfall per square meter was recorded on Sunday.

Police said a young man died after getting trapped in a lift that filled up with water. The body of another man, aged 50, was found in a river near the town of Camarena. A third man died inside a flooded vehicle.

Authorities are searching for three people who are still unaccounted for.

Emergency services in the Madrid region said they were called to almost 1,200 incidents overnight.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez thanked emergency services for their work and urged people to "continue to behave with caution."

A damaged road in the municipality of Santa Barbara
Roads and bridges were badly damaged in the stormImage: Marc Asensio Clupes/Zuma/IMAGO

Storm easing

Several subway lines in central Madrid that had been closed due to the flooding were re-opened for service later on Monday. Suspended high-speed train connections between the capital and the southern region of Andalusia also resumed. 

The weather service AEMET lowered its alert level for the Madrid region to yellow, down from a maximum red alert on Sunday. It said the storm was moving away from the country late Monday.

Scientists warn that extreme weather such as heatwaves and storms is becoming more frequent and more intense as a result of climate change, caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

nm/jcg (Reuters, AFP, AP)