Storm Gloria Visits France and Spain

January 26, 2020

At least 13 people have died in Spain and more than 1 500 were evacuated in southwest France, authorities confirmed on January 24, 2020, after powerful Storm Gloria caused widespread flooding and left a trail of destruction in its wake. In parts of France, Gloria dumped approximately two months’ worth of rain in just two days. According to Meteo France forecaster Olivier Proust, it was the worst storm to hit the region during the winter period since January 1982.

In Spain, the storm dumped heavy snow and rain across parts of the country, disrupting transport and destroying infrastructure. Local residents said they had “never seen anything like this.”

The Ebro River Delta between Barcelona and Valencia burst up to 3 km (1.8 miles) inland, flooding around 3 000 ha (7 413 acres) of paddy fields.

Streets were also left inundated and coated in seafoam in the coastal town of Tossa de Mar.

On Thursday, January 23, residents in 26 zones in Girona were advised to avoid going out until floodwater recedes after the Ter river burst its banks.

Spanish meteorologists and oceanographers said Gloria produced a record-breaking significant wave height of 8.44 meters (27.69 feet) off the port city of Valencia, breaking the previous significant wave height record in the Mediterranean Sea of 8.15 m (26.73 feet); set in Mahon, Menorca in 2003.

On Friday, January 24, the number of fatalities has reached 13: five in Valencia, four in Catalonia,  two in Andalusia, one in the central region of Castile and Leon, and another one in the northern region of Asturias.

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