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Schools shut as torrential rains hit south-eastern Spain

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Spanish authorities closed schools, universities, and day-care centres on Tuesday (23 May) as torrential rainfall swept across the coastal southeast after a long dry spell, leaving behind flooded homes, submerged vehicles, and closed roads.

The heavy rains are expected to continue, especially in the areas that have been hit the hardest. These include parts of Murcia, Valencia, and Andalusia.

Emergency services in Cartagena struggled to drain streets that were heavily flooded. Local TV footage showed cars and motorbikes almost completely covered in water.

The national weather agency AEMET reported that some locations in the Valencia area saw more rainfall in a few short days than in the six months prior combined.

According to the agency, the town of Ontinyent near Valencia has broken the record for highest rainfall in a single day in May over the last 100 years. It accumulated up to 130 litres (28.7 gallons) per square yard according to the report.

Ruben del campo, AEMET's spokesman, said that the rains may help to mitigate the drought in Spain.

He said that despite this, the spring was expected to be the driest on record.

Del Campo stated that the amount of rainfall in the United States between October 2022 to May 21 this year was 28% lower than average, and it would take double the normal rainfall until the end of September for levels to be reached.

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