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Christmas storms ground planes, derail trains and leave hundreds of thousands without electricity
By thinkSPAIN Team Wed, Dec 25, 2013
STORMS across northern Spain have caused a train to derail, left four people injured, homes and shops flooded, flights grounded and over 100,000 people without electricity.
Winds of up to 185 kilometres per hour (115mph) swept the north of the country and rainfall reached 140 litres per square metre (14 centimetres, or nearly six inches).
In Galicia, 88,000 homes were left without power in the early hours of Christmas Eve, and 20,000 of these were not reconnected until mid-afternoon – only just in time to cook the traditional festive feast that night for all the family.
A FEVE train came off its rails in Covas (Lugo province) in the north-western region of Galicia after a tree fell on the track.
None of the 10 passengers or crew were injured, and they were taken to their onward destination by taxi.
A 50-year-old man and a girl of 17 were injured by falling trees in Valladolid, in the central region of Castilla y León, and a man of 60 in the same town by a flower pot which fell from a balcony.
In the Basque Country, a pedestrian was hurt by a tree coming down on him in the province of Guipúzcoa.
Restaurants and bars had to shut early in the Basque Country and Asturias as the power went off, whilst six flights from Bilbao were cancelled – those coming in from Paris, Brussels, Madrid and Sevilla – and two others diverted to Barcelona.
Three planes were unable to land in Lugo due to the weather, and several other flights were cancelled.
Flights travelling to the UK from all over Spain were affected as the cold weather wave, known as an 'explosive cyclogenesis', caused flash floods and power cuts in Britain with entire motorways in the south of the country closed due to accidents, water and falling trees.
Planes due to land at Heathrow were diverted to Gatwick, where chaos ensued due to lack of 'parking space' on the runway and luggage belts not working as a result of no electricity.
Passengers flying in from Málaga and Alicante had to search through hundreds of suitcases dumped on the floor to find their own, and the baggage office was working flat-out to assist the long queues.
Similar weather has been predicted for another 44 provinces in Spain, including the east and south-east, for today, tomorrow and New Year's Eve.
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