VIDEOS SHOW ROADS TRANSFORMED INTO RIVERS IN SPANISH HOLIDAY HOTSPOTS

Dramatic new footage of the devastating floods that hit Spain in recent days has emerged, showing roads turning into rivers and cars being washed away.

As countries on the eastern Mediterranean experienced an early heatwave, Spain's Costa Blanca region and the island of Majorca were both inundated by Storm Tamara, prompting local officials to declare weather emergencies.

Both destinations are popular with British tourists, and the rain will have dampened holidays for many hoping to escape the disappointing spring in the UK.

At Majorca's Palma airport, local media said 44 square meters of rain fell in just one hour on Tuesday - flooding the runway and grounding flights at least 100 flights.

And in Murcia, rain lashed down hard, with several videos posted online showing fast moving water flowing through the southeastern city's streets.

In one serious incident, a woman had to be rescued by firefighters from her car after she was caught out by the flash floods, which swept her away in her vehicle.

One clip, posted online on Wednesday, showed how a 100-foot wide street was completely flooded, with a river of water gushing from one end to the other.

The video was filmed from a window in an apartment block overlooking the thoroughfare in Espinardo, Murcia.

Cars can be seen almost completely submerged as street bins are washed away.

In a second clip - this time from Molina de Segura, also in Murcia - flood water is shown pouring from the end of a street and off the edge of an overpass.

Other clips posted to social media from the region in recent days have shown huge hail stones crashing down on roofs, and vast volumes of water moving over fields.

Hail was reported to have fallen in some parts of the Valencian community, which includes the provinces of Alicante and Valencia.

Tree branches were also reported to have fallen on tram tracks in Murcia. 

The weather has forced emergency services to respond to hundreds of calls. 

According to the Murcia Plaza news outlet, of the 420 calls put into the emergency services on Wednesday, 357 related to the storms. 

It was reported that the weather was expected to stabilise of Thursday, giving local residents and tourists alike much needed respite. 

Majorca was also hit hard by the extreme weather.

Officials at Palma airport said on Tuesday that 100 of the 'more than 900 flights' scheduled to operate that day, including many from British travel hubs like Gatwick, Luton and Bristol, had been affected by the storms.

One Scottish passenger told the Majorca Daily Bulletin how they were left stranded on the Palma runway for three hours because of the weather.

He told the outlet that passengers were kept in the dark by the cabin crew as they waited to take off to to Fez in North Africa.

'It was hot on the plane and the cabin crew gave us no information at all,' he told the publication. 'In fact they lied to us. We must have waited for two hours. 

'Passengers had to buy extra water. There was plenty of tension as people were furious about the lack of information about what was happening,' he said.

A clip from the cabin showed one man growing increasingly irate as he discussed the situation with other passengers in Arabic.

'What annoyed me, is that we were told nothing,' the Scottish passenger added. 

Images from inside Palma Airport revealed the extent of the growing chaos inside.

One video showed rainwater flooding one of the airport's runways, with a member of staff jokingly diving into the water to show how deep it was. Another showed the ceiling above the duty free shops in the airport severely leaking water.

The storms come at a time when many Brits will be jetting off for holidays to escape what has so-far been a disappointing spring. 

Brits have been told they will have to wait until July for warmer weather because of cold winds blowing in from the Arctic. 

The UK has been experiencing temperatures three to five degrees below the season average over the past week, the Met Office has said.

This is because a mid-Atlantic jet stream - afast-moving wind in the atmosphere - is guiding wind from the north over the UK resulting in lower temperatures.

However, according to meteorologists, there is no sign of better weather until the end of June.

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: 'It looks as if temperatures will stay near or slightly below average for the majority of the rest of June.

'Over the next couple of nights we're actually expecting to see a little bit of frost in a few places. This will mainly be across Scotland and possibly into northern England and Northern Ireland where temperatures could get down to around freezing.'

Meanwhile, other regions in Europe have been sweltering under an early heatwave.

In Greece, officials were forced to close the Athens Acropolis during the hottest hours of Wednesday as the season's earliest-ever heatwave swept the country, prompting school closures and health warnings.

The UNESCO-listed archaeological site closed from midday to 5pm local time, with temperatures topping 43 degrees Celsius in central Greece.

Temperatures of up to 44 degrees Celsius are expected on Thursday as the phenomenon peaks, with up to 43 degrees forecast in the capital.

Meteorologists have noted this is the earliest heatwave - which for Greece is temperatures exceeding 38 degrees Celsius for at least three days - on record.

'This heatwave will go down in history,' meteorologist Panos Giannopoulos said on state TV ERT. 'In the 20th century we never had a heatwave before June 19. We have had several in the 21st century, but none before June 15,' he said.

The climate crisis and civil protection ministry has warned of a very high risk of fires in the Attica region around Athens.

Schools stayed closed in several regions of the country on Wednesday and will do so again on Thursday, including in the capital, while the labour ministry has advised public-sector employees to work from home.

The ministry also ordered a pause from midday to 5pm for outdoor work including food delivery.

Greece's Red Cross said it had handed out some 12,000 bottles of water in the centre of the capital and at the Acropolis.

And in Greece's second city Thessaloniki, teachers and pupils said annual school exams were held under difficult conditions.

The Acropolis was forced to close in July last year during a two-week heatwave that was unprecedented in its duration.

It was followed by fires that according to the National Observatory of Athens consumed nearly 175,000 hectares (432,000 acres) of forest and farmland.

A record number of almost four million visitors flocked to the Acropolis last year, with its popularity boosted in part due to tourists arriving on cruise ships calling in at the nearby port of Piraeus.

500 miles away in Cyprus, aircraft from Greece and Jordan were helping Cypriot authorities battle a large wildfire in the southwestern Paphos region believed to have been started by an illegal landfill, officials said Wednesday.

The fire broke out Tuesday east of the village of Giolou, triggering a national emergency plan that saw civil defence evacuate five mountain villages at risk.

Officials said two air tractors from the Royal Jordanian Air Force and two planes from Greece were deployed Wednesday to tackle the blaze in the rugged terrain.

Fire service spokesman Adreas Kettis said later on Wednesday that the fire was subsiding.

'The fire is now subsiding. The active front near the Polemi community has been controlled,' he wrote on X.

'Suppression teams continue with final extinguishing efforts and complete containment. The risk of rekindling remains present.'

Nicosia had activated the European Union fire assistance protocol to seek help in containing the fire.

Fire service chief Nicos Logginos told state radio Wednesday that seven aircraft, including two Canadair planes from Greece, are operating over the active fronts.

He said that due to harsh terrain, ground forces have been unable to reach the area.

Over 300 people, including fire crews, supported by bulldozers, were working to secure the perimeter of the fire.

Logginos said police have evidence the fire started from an illegal landfill site.

Around 48 people evacuated from the fire zone were taken to hotels, said local daily Kathimerini Cyprus.

The scale of the fire prompted President Nikos Christodoulides to return early from a Gaza aid summit in Jordan on Tuesday to visit the crisis control centre.

During a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, he requested additional aerial support to combat the fire in Paphos.

Kettis said earlier that a number of homes suffered extensive damage or were destroyed, but the scale of the destruction had yet to be determined.

Residents have complained that homes were destroyed because of the slow response to the fire's outbreak.

The community leader in the village of Lemona, Kyriakos Charalambous, told the Cyprus News Agency it took 'too long' for aerial firefighting units to arrive.

Wildfires often erupt in Cyprus during the sweltering summer months on the island which suffers from a severe lack of rainfall.

The Department of Meteorology issued a yellow alert for Wednesday for extreme heat, with maximum temperatures expected to reach 41 degrees Celsius.

Cyprus recorded its hottest-ever June day last Friday as temperatures soared to an unprecedented 44 degrees Celsius, the department said.

Like Cyprus, France has also been hit by wildfires this week.

Firefighters were mobilised in the town of Vidauban, found 15 miles north of Saint-Tropez, to battle a blaze that has so far burned around 1,500 acres.

Although reports said the fire had been 'stabilised', officials warned that it was still active. Nearly 600 firefighters were still working at the scene, they said.

There are concerns that wind could fan the flames, causing it to be spread further.

Firefighters said they were surprised by the power of the fire at this time of year.

Lieutenant Colonel Michel Persoglio of the Var firefighters told France Bleu: 'We were very surprised yesterday at the turn of the events.

'A fire is always possible, but in this power, it's a bit surprising. We had a fire that we usually have in the middle of summer in the middle of the season.'

The unexpected fire has caused issues for the local departments, he added.

'People are off duty, the planes are at the end of maintenance, so it was more complicated to bring together personnel and equipment,' he said. 'We had an implementation time which was a little longer than in the summer.'

Wildfires across Europe have become a growing concern in recent years.

In 2022, swathes of France, Spain and Portugal were devastated by major fires, as were Czechia, Germany, Greece, and Slovenia - to name but a few.

According to the European Commission, 20 EU Member States recorded more burned areas than average in 2022, with a total of 837,212 hectares being burned by wildfires that year in Europe.

The 2023 wildfire season was also destructive, with more than half a million hectares (an area twice the size of Luxembourg) being scorched by wildfires.

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2024-06-13T09:03:34Z dg43tfdfdgfd