Major disruptions as Storm Gloria continues to batter Catalonia
Roads closed, power cuts, and flooding, with 120,000 students missing classes on Tuesday
One of the most important highways in Catalonia, the AP-7 which connects with France, was cut this morning for hours due to the adverse conditions as Storm Gloria continues to batter the country, causing major disruptions.
Rain and snow forced the closure of various roads in northern Catalonia, especially snow on the French side of the border.
By 12.45 pm, the AP-7 highway was reopened with traffic moving in both directions.
More than 120,000 students have also had classes cancelled on Tuesday, primarily in the areas of Maresme, just north of Barcelona, and in the Girona counties in northern Catalonia. Both primary and secondary school classes have been called off, with Storm Gloria causing too many disturbances to safely hold the lessons.
For hours during Monday night into Tuesday morning, 220,000 homes and businesses in the Girona area were left without electricity, after the storm knocked down a key high-voltage electricity tower. Power was restored to the buildings by 10.30 on Tuesday morning.
According to the electrical company Endesa, the entire electrical system was affected by the cuts and, to prevent it from falling entirely, rotationary cuts were done in the counties of Girona, so not all subscribers would be affected for the whole duration of the situation.
Civil Protection warned of taking extreme precaution in the vicinities of the Onyar and Daró rivers, in the Girona region, due to the possibility of the rivers' banks bursting.
Given that rains are expected to increase in some areas throughout Tuesday afternoon, Civil Protection has taken the precautionary measure of preparing a space for people who may find themselves forced out of their homes due to flooding.
Storm Gloria has also affected beaches along the central Catalan coast and the Costa Daurada. The coastal towns of Cubelles and Cunit between Barcelona and Tarragona have seen huge swells that have removed large amounts of sand from the beach and flooded seafront promenades. Some beachfront businesses have been affected.
Sea foam in the streets
In Tossa de Mar in the southern Costa Brava locals witnessed the strange image of sea foam filling the streets. The local council gave assurances that this unusual occurrence was a natural phenomenon caused by the storm.
In the south of the country, hundreds of hectares of rice fields in the River Ebre delta were flooded, potentially damaging crops.
Meanwhile in the Pyrenees, the ski resort of La Molina closed on Tuesday due to strong winds, following advice from the interior ministry to restrict outdoor activities where possible. The director of La Molina station, Xavier Perpinyà is hopeful that the extra snow brought by Storm Gloria will bode well for the rest of the ski season.