Tourists are being warned of ‘extreme risk’ weather conditions in Spain, as gale-force winds and storms strike the coast, leaving seven people dead.
The treacherous conditions have seen huge waves crash into seafront towns, causing flooding in eastern parts of the country, and leaving many shops and restaurants damaged.
The UK Foreign office issued a weather warning for tourists in 13 areas of Spain, including Majorca and Barcelona, after the country was hit by Storm Gloria overnight on Monday (20 Jan).
‘Extreme risk’ weather
The ‘extreme risk’ warning comes after a weekend of heavy rain for much of the country, prompting Spain’s meteorological office (AEMET) to put out a weather alert to a number of provinces.
The regions that fall under the weather warning include Teruel, Albacete, Murcia, Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona, Valencia, Alicante and Castellon. The Balearics, Almeria, Granada and Jaen are also on high alert.
Travellers are urged to take care after strong winds with gusts of more than 100 kilometres per hour, huge waves up to six metres high, freezing rain and heavy snow have lashed eastern parts of Spain since Sunday (19 Jan).
The death toll from the adverse weather has now reached seven, while four people are still missing, TRTWorld reports.
The latest victim was a man who fell into the sea in the northeastern port of Palamos, emergency services reported late on Wednesday (22 Jan).
Police found a body in a flooded area in the eastern region of Valencia, after searching for a 67 year old man who went missing in his car. Two other deaths were recorded in the southern region of Andalusia, while four people are still believed to be missing.
Northeastern region on alert
The national weather agency Aemet said the storm was starting to subside yesterday (22 Jan), although the northeastern region of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands have been kept on alert.
Majorca has already seen a number of incidents as a result of the bad conditions, including fallen trees and flooding in parts.
It is now predicted that Storm Gloria is moving up the coast of Spain, heading towards more northerly areas, including the popular tourist city of Barcelona.
Rubén del Campo, spokesman for AEMET, told Euro Weekly, “The next few days will be marked by a strong winter storm – the most intense that we have seen over the years.”
He reaffirmed that Spain will see heavy snowfall, icy cold temperatures, rain and a strong maritime storm, with waves reaching more than seven metres.
Advice for tourists
Tourists heading to Spain are being urged to check the Spanish Civil Protection Unit for precautionary advice.
Visitors can follow updates from the unit on social media, or by visiting the website for the latest information and advice. Further information about the weather warning can also be found on the AEMET website.
Those already in the country are advised to “exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.”
The Civil Protection Unit is currently issuing precautionary advice to tourists and locals in affected areas, including recommendations to secure properties.
Those in Barcelona, and other northern areas, are advised to stay away from trees, walls and any areas which could pose a risk of debris falling, or being swept away by strong winds or flooding.