Europe

Storm hits Spain, flooding towns, cutting electricity, rail services

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A person swipes the street after floods caused by heavy rains in Alcanar, Spain, September 1, 2021. REUTERS/Eva Manez

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ALCANAR, Spain, Sept 1 (Reuters) - An intense rain storm on Wednesday wreaked havoc in several parts of Spain, causing severe flooding in some towns, leaving thousands of people without electricity and forcing the closure of some roads and rail links.

The storm, which gained strength due to high temperatures and humidity, hit especially hard in the coast town of Alcanar in the northeastern region of Catalonia.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted that he stood in solidarity with the affected areas while urging people to be extremely cautious and follow emergency services' advice as rains were expected to resume overnight.

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Some streets in Alcanar quickly turned into torrents, with a powerful stream of water pushing cars, furniture and trees towards the coastline. Emergency personnel rescued dozens of people trapped in vehicles, houses and camping facilities in the area, officials said.

Around a dozen people were relocated to a sports arena set up to shelter people while two hotels were hosting over 20 people, Catalonia's emergency service said in a statement.

No fatalities have been reported.

Three people were taken to a local hospital for mild hypothermia symptoms, it added.

Around 5,000 homes in the area remained without electricity service, mobile communications were also affected while several roads and rail links were interrupted.

Intense rain and flooding was also reported in the central Castilla-La Mancha and Navarra regions, halting the high-speed rail link between the Spanish capital Madrid and Toledo, rail administrator Adif tweeted.

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Reporting by Joan Faus in Barcelona, Eva Manez in Alcanar and Lorena Sopena in Amposta; Writing by Joan Faus; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell

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