Floods in northern Spain lead to helicopter evacuations and rescues

Heavy rainfall of more than 150 mm in 24 hours caused severe flooding in northern Spain, leading to helicopter evacuations and emergency rescues.

On November 24, 2021, Asturian emergency services used a helicopter to rescue a family trapped in a house surrounded by floodwaters in Pilonier. Rescue teams in boats rescued one person in Las Rosas and another in La Noseda, Arriondas.

In addition, about 40 patients were evacuated from the hospital in Arriondas in the municipality of Parres because of the flooding. As a precautionary measure, about 600 students and teachers from two schools in Arriondas were also evacuated.

Arriondas is located at the confluence of the Pilonha and Sella rivers. Both rivers overflowed after heavy rainfall. According to the Spanish State Meteorological Agency AEMET, in 24 hours on November 24, 87.2 mm of rain fell in the village of Pilonha, 159.6 mm in Panizales, 139.0 mm in Carrenier and 94.4 mm in Felejos.

Heavy rain also fell in neighboring Cantabria, where rescue services conducted 22 operations on November 24. Roads were flooded in Cabezón de la Sal, Cabezón de Liebana, Miengo and Moleda.

Severe bad weather, including torrential rains, has affected southern and eastern Spain since Nov. 20. About 30 buildings were damaged and 23 people were rescued from stranded cars after flash floods in the municipality of Cartagena. According to local authorities, about 100 mm of rain fell in a few hours.

The rain then moved north to the regions of Valencia and Catalonia. The Civil Protection of Catalonia reported that as of early November 24, emergency crews had responded to incidents in the districts of Baix-Ebre (112 incidents), Tarragonese (105) and Barcelonese (54).

Several floods were also reported in the Montcia area. Videos posted on social media show cars stranded on flooded roads in Tortosa and Tarragona. Firefighters rescued 3 people from stranded cars in Baix Ebre.

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