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Spain: Storm kills 4, disrupts travel

January 21, 2020

A storm raging through much of eastern Spain has claimed at least four lives and cut off power to hundreds of thousands. Alicante Airport was also temporarily shut, disrupting over 200 flights.

A man looks at waves crashing ashore on Barceloneta beach during the storm "Gloria"
Image: Reuters/N. Doce

Hundreds of thousands were left without power in northeastern Spain on Tuesday, following an ongoing bout of strong winds and heavy snowfall which has so far left four people dead. 

The storm left 220,000 residents without power in Girona province, emergency services said, although a break in the main supply from France had been repaired.

Storm Gloria has battered Spain since Sunday, and reached southern France on Tuesday. Valencia on the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands, including Mallorca, bore the brunt of Monday's storm.

Read more: Climate risk: Insuring against the inevitable

Waves over 8 meters (26 feet) high were also spotted by port authorities in Valencia on Monday, a new record.

Two people died of hypothermia near Valencia, while in Avila a man died when roof tiles hit his head after they were dislodged by strong winds.

Another man was killed by a vehicle on a snowbound road in Asturias, Reuters news agency reported.

Strong winds in Valencia
Strong winds battered ValenciaImage: AFP/J. Jordan

Alicante Airport shuts down

Catalonia's regional government banned outdoor activities in Girona and Barcelona, while Alicante Airport was forced to temporarily close, disrupting more than 200 flights.

Aena, the state-owned airport operator, tweeted on Monday that the airport would gradually resume operations on Tuesday morning. 

Read more: How to reduce risks from mega storms?

Wind speeds in parts of eastern Spain reached 115 kilometers per hour on Monday (about 70 miles per hour). Schools and other public services were largely closed.

The storm is not expected to let up until at least Wednesday. Spain has suffered an unusually harsh winter, with several killed at the end of last year in similarly extreme weather.

lc,ed/ng (Reuters, AFP)

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