The storm overflows rivers and causes cuts in roads and railways in the Basque Country, Asturias and Cantabria | Spain

The rains and snow that have fallen in the last hours in the Basque Country are causing numerous incidents this Monday, especially in Bizkaia, as main roads, the secondary network and also the railways are temporarily affected. In Cantabria, also hit by heavy rainfall, the overflow of the Asón river as it passed through Ampuero has flooded an industrial estate and its workers have had to be rescued in boats. The Basque Government has lifted the emergency at 3 pm this Monday, after verifying that the levels of the rivers are already beginning to fall.

In the Basque Country, the overflow of the Cadagua River has caused small floods in the Biscayan municipalities of Balmaseda, Sodupe, Zalla, Aranguren and Güeñes, a situation that has also occurred in Basauri after the Nervión overflowed. The force of the water has flooded some garages and Civil Protection and Municipal Police have toured the municipality with loudspeakers to ask neighbors to take their vehicles out of low-lying areas. Specifically, they have been asked to remove them from the parking lot under the Soloarte football field as well as those parked next to the river in the Mercabilbao area. In the case of Balmaseda, the intense rainfall has left an accumulated 43 liters per square meter between last midnight and ten in the morning of this Monday, which is among the most affected by the storm in the Encartaciones region.

A man died this Monday morning in Vioño (Cantabria), one of the towns most affected by the storm. The first information pointed to the fact that the heart attack that ended his life occurred while he was bailing water and was going to go to Salcedo, a nearby town where his parents reside, already elderly. However, several residents of the La Ventilla de Vioño neighborhood assure that he died suddenly in the portal where the inhabitants of a residential block were meeting urgently. Elena González, a resident there for 30 years, highlights that several people had gone down to the garage to remove the vehicles and prevent them from flooding. The deceased, with initials DPA, had withdrawn his car and discussed with other people the option of going to his parents’ house, although it was impossible due to the amount of water flooded in the area. A few seconds later, he collapsed in the portal. “Two boys have given him a heart massage while the toilets came, who arrived in the fire truck. They have tried but have not succeeded, ”says González, saddened by the death of this well-known soft drink delivery man in the town, according to the mayor, Verónica Sampeiro, reports Juan Navarro.

The Basque Government lifted the emergency in the early afternoon of this Monday, as the water levels of the rivers fell. Before, the rafts of water had forced to interrupt the circulation of the Renfe line between Muskiz and Barakaldo, so the service was carried out in the morning by bus, according to the company. The accumulation of water and some detachment have also caused problems on several roads such as the N-240 at the height of Zeanuri, the N-634 at Muskiz and the BI-636 at the height of Arrankudiaga, among others.

On the BI-636, in the Cadagua river corridor, a landslide cut the road in both directions around 2.30. At the beginning of this Monday the lanes were opened in the direction of Balmaseda, and hours later in the direction of Bilbao.

Floods in the neighborhood of Zorrotza (Bilbao) after the flood of the Nervión river due to heavy rains.
Floods in the neighborhood of Zorrotza (Bilbao) after the flood of the Nervión river due to heavy rains.Fernando Domingo-Aldama

The floods of the Deba, Oria and Urumea rivers, all three in Gipuzkoa, are causing incidents in some towns served by local police. With regard to snow, the ports of Barazar (Bizkaia), Herrera, Opakua and Orduña (Álava) are closed, while caution is recommended in some sections of the A-1 as it passes through Álava, on the A- 15 from Andoain to the border with Navarra, as well as on more than a dozen roads.

According to the Basque Meteorological Agency, Euskalmet, the weather could begin to give a truce and improve, especially already this Tuesday. However, the situation will remain very unstable throughout the week. During the early morning, 636 lightning strikes were counted in the Basque Country, according to Euskalmet data. One of them fell on the church of Zugaztieta (Bizkaia) causing damage to the roof of the portico.

The Regional Fire Service of Bizkaia reinforced the number of troops in all its parks on Sunday, although its activity was considerably less than that deployed on Saturday.

In Bilbao there have also been incidents caused by falling rubble from facades onto public roads and the proliferation of water ponds. In addition, the continuous and intense storms caused problems in the water supply, which last night temporarily left many homes on Autonomia and Alameda Recalde streets without service. The storm has also affected the electricity grid, since several areas of Basurto and streets such as Sabino Arana have been temporarily without electricity.

In Álava, the snow has once again covered many localities in white, including the capital. Road network problems have become widespread throughout the province. Accidents have multiplied and the ports of Opakua, Herrera and Zaldiaran have been closed. Numerous localities have suffered power outages and telephone problems. The Zadorra reservoirs were at 60% of their capacity this Sunday, with almost 15 cubic hectometres more than at the beginning of the week.

A Renfe driver injured in Asturias

A Renfe driver is hospitalized, although his life is not in danger, after derailing the train in Asturias when it collided last morning with an argayo – landslide caused by the storm that sweeps the north of Spain – on the tracks. The accident occurred near the town of Puente de los Fierros, at the entrance to a tunnel on the line that connects León with Gijón, and caused the locomotive to be embedded in the tunnel entrance, in addition to the derailment of five wagons. Renfe has developed an alternative road transport for passengers on the Alvia trains that connect the Principality with the Plateau. Users of the Asturian Cercanías that runs through these points are also traveling by road until the state of the roads is restored.

Workers rescued on boats in Cantabria

In Cantabria, the rains have overflowed the Asón river as it passes through the town of Ampuero and the Marrón industrial estate has been flooded, whose workers have been rescued in boats by regional firefighters, reports Efe. The Government of Cantabria has deployed an advanced command post in the town to deal with incidents. The 112 Emergency Attention Center received 358 calls on Sunday night due to the rain and snow storm and attended 172 incidents for the same reason. Most are due to flooding in garages, but also in some homes.

The Cantabrian Government maintains the Special Flood Plan (Inuncant) in the pre-emergency phase. It is recommended that the population exercise extreme caution on the road, try to circulate on main roads and highways, and avoid driving through trough areas that may be affected by a flood. It is recommended that those who go on foot stay away from rivers, streams and low areas of slopes and hills.

The region continues this Monday on a yellow warning due to the risk of heavy rains and coastal phenomena, according to the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet). Specifically, there is a yellow alert for rains on the coast, with an accumulated precipitation of 40 liters per square meter, until 19.59. The coastline is at risk from coastal phenomena this morning. There is also a yellow warning for rains in the center and valley of Villaverde, where accumulated precipitation in 12 hours of 40 liters per square meter is expected, until 19.59 on Monday.

All the autonomous communities, except Galicia, Extremadura, the Community of Madrid, the Canary Islands and the autonomous city of Ceuta, are on Monday on warning due to various meteorological phenomena, such as snowfall, rain, wind, waves, minimum temperatures or even thaw or avalanches, according to the Aemet prediction, which nonetheless foresees a general rise in temperatures.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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