Buenache de Alarcón (Cuenca). Photo: EFE / Video: Europa Press

In pictures and video: storm smashes into central Spain leaving several people dead and missing

Torrential rain hit the regions of Madrid and Castilla La Mancha some six hours after state agency Aemet deactivated the red and amber alerts for extreme weather

Melchor Sáiz-Pardo


Monday, 4 September 2023, 12:09


Early this Monday morning, just six hours after Spain's state weather agency (Aemet) lifted its red and amber alerts for heavy downpours and storms in the central area of the country on Sunday, disaster struck. It was just as Madrid and parts of Castilla La Mancha region were confident they had avoided the large storm that was expected to deposit large quantities of rain during Sunday afternoon and evening.

A 'dana' (depresión aislada en niveles altos), a 'cold drop' depression at high levels of the atmosphere hit Madrid with force, but six hours after Aemet lifted its most extreme 'risk' warnings (red and amber) catching many people unprepared. Torrential rains fell just after 5am this Monday morning, and continued throughout the morning.

The heaviest downpours fell in the municipalities of Casarrubios del Monte, in Toledo, and Aldea del Fresno, southwest of Madrid where a local resident died despite emergency services attempting to rescue him from his car. Also in Aldea del Fresno, emergency teams are searching for a vehicle that fell into the Alberche river early this Monday morning. Four people from the same family were inside: the parents and their two children. The mother and daughter were found alive shortly after the incident and were both taken to the Rey Juan Carlos hospital. The son, only ten years old, was rescued at 8am after he miraculously managed to climb a tree, but the father is still missing.

Buenache de Alarcón (Cuenca). EFE
Imagen principal - Buenache de Alarcón (Cuenca).
Imagen secundaria 1 - Buenache de Alarcón (Cuenca).
Imagen secundaria 2 - Buenache de Alarcón (Cuenca).

In Casarrubios, a 20-year-old resident died trapped in a lift when he was going down to an underground garage just after midnight on Sunday. In Bargas, another driver died as a result of heavy rains when he was travelling on the A-40 at kilometre 117.

Still in the province of Toledo, the Civil Guard is looking for a missing person, a 54-year-old woman who was traveling in a Seat Altea on the CM-4004.

The most affected area in the Community of Madrid, which has so far been hit by two large downpours at 6am and 8.30am, is the southwest of Madrid, specifically the municipalities of Aldea del Fresno, Villa Del Prado, Villamanta, Villamantilla, Villanueva de Perales, Navalcarnero and El Álamo.

The heavy rain that fell in Spain's capital city at rush hour caused the temporary closure of the M-30, cuts and delays on three of the six radial motorways in the south (A2, A3 and A4) and the suspension of several Metro and Cercanías (local train) lines, and the flooding of several underground stations.

Between 2pm on Sunday and 7am this Monday morning, the 112 emergency services' number has received 1,491 call outs for help in Madrid, and 1,378 across Castilla-La Mancha.

This Monday morning, the Community of Madrid deployed a rescue helicopter to the Toledo municipalities of Escalona and Bargas following a request from Castilla-La Mancha alerting that there were people trapped on the roofs of their homes.

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