East Spain battered by heaviest rainfall on record

People walk on a flooded street in Ontinyent as torrential rains hit southeastern Spain overnight

People walk on a flooded street in Ontinyent as torrential rains hit southeastern Spain overnight

Two siblings died on Thursday (Sept 12) when floodwaters caused by torrential rain dragged their auto and flipped it over in eastern Spain, local emergency services said, as authorities warned residents to brace for further storms across large parts of the country.

The regional emergency service said a 51-year-old woman and her 61-year-old brother were found dead inside an overturned auto that floodwaters washed away in Caudete, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Valencia, Spanish private news agency Europa Press reported.

Authorities had earlier said the victims were an elderly couple, both aged 70. They included a 57-year-old man and his 33-year-old son, Europa Press reported. Four police officers were injured in the rescue operation.

A red weather warning, signalling "extreme risk" is in place across the south east of the mainland for rain and storms by Spain's meteorological agency (AEMET). It forecast torrential downpours of up to 90 mm (3 ½ inches) an hour and up to 180 mm (seven inches) over 24 hours.

The Clariano river flooded parts of Ontinyent, south of the coastal town of Valencia, while television footage showed a deluge tumbling through the streets of nearby Mogente, sweeping debris along with it.

Schools in Valencia and the Murcia region suspended classes, expecting the heavy rains to continue.

View of River Clariano overflowing in Ontinyent, Valencia.

He said the town would ask the national government to declare a catastrophe in the area, which would entitle local people to emergency aid and long-term financial help to rebuild.

Closed roads and train lines disrupted travel.

In Albacete, southwest of Valencia, 13 people were rescued from cars or from the roofs of buildings. On Thursday afternoon, military emergency services teams arrived in the town and other affected areas.

In Murcia, authorities warned people not to go out in their cars. The local Spanish government representative in the region, Francisco Jiménez, advised people to take "maximum precaution", adding that Thursday "is a good day to stay at home".