Search and rescue teams in Tineo, Asturias, Spain January 2019
Search and rescue teams in Tineo, Asturias, Spain January 2019

by Richard Davies, floodlist

Heavy rain from 22 to 25 January 2019 caused flooding and landslides in the Principality of Asturias, a region of northwest Spain. According to statistics from Spain’s AEMET, Aller in Asturias recorded 220 mm of rain in 3 days to 22-24 January, with 115 mm of that total falling in 24 hours on 23 January. Confederación Hidrográfica del Cantábrico reported that 84 mm of rain fell in 24 hours on January 25 in Ruente and 72 mm fell in La Gándara during the same period.

Several rivers in the region exceeded alert levels, in particular the Narcea River at Quinzanas, which reached 4.026 m on 23 January, well above the alert level of 2.9 m. The Sella River at Arriondas reached 6.82 m on 24 January, where the alert level is 6.5 m.  Also on 24 January, the Nalón River at El Condado reached 4.52 m, above alert level of 3.6 m. The heavy rain prompted authorities in Asturias to activate the region's flood plan - Plan de Inundaciones del Principado de Asturias (PLANIPA) – early on 23 January.

The Asturias Emergency Coordination Centre said it received a total of 2,205 calls for assistance during the severe weather. Several roads and schools were closed and severe damage to agriculture was also reported. Around 40 patients were evacuated from a hospital in Arriondas on Thursday 24 January due to flooding. Emergency services said that four people died as a result of the severe weather. One of the victims was swept away by flooding from an overflowing river in Tineo. The other victims died in separate incidents in Laviana, Mieres and Salas when their vehicles were either swept from the roads or caught in landslides.

Photo: Search and rescue teams in Tineo, Asturias, Spain January 2019. Published by: Servicio de Emergencia del Principado de Asturias (SEPA)/Bomberos de Asturias.