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Violent winds shut ski slopes and tear trees down throughout Spain
thinkSPAIN , Monday, February 15, 2016

GALE-FORCE winds this weekend have caused chaos across Spain with firefighters called out up to 200 times in each region to deal with falling trees and building parts, and the whole of the Sierra Nevada shutting its ski slopes.

A sports centre was evacuated in Madrid after the PVC roof came off, and driving conditions have become exceptionally dangerous.

The traditional fireworks to mark the end of Cádiz carnival's week-long celebrations were called off, and entire trees have been uprooted across the country, blocking off roads.

A 73-year-old fisherman has disappeared off the coast of Islares in the Castro Urdiales region of Cantabria, and the search party has had to be suspended until the winds die down.

Gales of up to 129 kilometres per hour (81mph) were registered in the Comunidad Valenciana in some parts, although in general they ranged from 69 to 89 kilometres per hour (43 to 56mph).

The Canary Islands suffered gusts of up to 85 kilometres per hour (53mph) and the Granada coast was battered by winds of 90 kilometres per hour (56.5mph), stronger still at heights, forcing ski resorts to shut all weekend.

A maximum pre-emergency warning has been issued in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón for forest fire risk, due to the ongoing drought in the region coupled with strong winds.

Waves up up to six metres (19'6”) in height have battered Spain's Atlantic shores, with Galicia bearing the brunt of it – a region where one man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in his car and the roof of a warehouse was ripped off in the province of Pontevedra.

Temperatures across the country are set to plummet or have done so already, with the springlike climates seen in the coastal parts of Alicante and Valencia giving way to a chilly 11ºC, dropping to between 7ºC and 2ºC inland.

Thick snow across the northern strip of the country has already started to ground traffic, and drivers are being warned to use snow chains on their wheels in remote areas.

Gales and freezing weather are expected to continue throughout most of Spain until the end of today or possibly as late as Tuesday.

The north, west and centre of the country has been the worst-affected, including the south-west, but the east and south east have not escaped.



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