Major disruptions continue into day four of Storm Gloria
One person missing, Ebre river delta devastated, flooding with rivers about to burst their banks, roads closed, broken bridges, and areas without electricity among effects
Storm Gloria continued to batter Catalonia in the early hours of Wednesday morning, after causing major disruptions throughout Tuesday.
One person went missing in Palamós, Costa Brava, and the emergency services began a search operation with the hypothesis that the person might have fallen into the sea while trying to moor a boat.
The rain paused on Wednesday morning, but Storm Gloria will continue into day four in the afternoon and night – the rough weather has brought strong winds, high waves, heavy rain and snow since Sunday.
The home affairs ministry warned on Wednesday morning that the "worst phase" of the storm is still to come, while the civil protection agency increased the flood alert level to "emergency."
The Barcelona metro area authority stated that the damages from the storm are the worst in at least 20 years.
Several areas throughout the country were flooded due to the rain and the rough sea, including a large section of the Ebre river delta, and the rice fields and flora and fauna it hosts.
Major rivers in the Girona region especially are at "maximum risk" of bursting their banks, such as the Ter, Onyar and Daró, and some rivers such as Tordera and streams have already flooded nearby areas.
Roads closed, bridges down, problems with water supply
Some 20 roads were partially or totally closed at 8am, including AP-7 northbound at Hostalric.
Along with other towns, Hostalric has had most of its road links with neighboring villages closed, and the local council asked the public to stay indoors after qualifying the situation as "quite critical." Some parts of the town had no power, and the whole municipality was without water or gas in the morning.
Several towns, such as Hostalric itself, have most of their road links with neighboring villages closed.
Some bridges, such as one above a train track between Malgrat de Mar and Blanes – on the border between the Barcelona and Girona regions – was badly damaged. The authorities estimate they will need between 6 and 9 months to repair it. Another example is a seafront promenade in Badalona, north of Barcelona, called Pont del Petroli.
All in all the Catalan government estimates that the damages caused in the ports owned by the executive – that is all ports in the country except for those in Barcelona and Tarragona, owned by Spain – will cost between 6 and 7 million euros.
Meanwhile, floods due to the river Tordera overflowing left large parts of Malgrat de Mar, 50km north of Barcelona, without drinking water, and neighboring Palafolls with water usage restrictions. Its water-treatment plant was flooded and only has enough drinking water until Friday morning.
No electricity supply
Large areas of the Vallès Oriental and Maresme counties, in the Barcelona metro area, had no electricity supply on Wednesday morning, like many places in the Girona and Ebre delta areas.
In the early afternoon, some 30,000 clients had no electricity yet across the country, with the Maresme being among the areas more affected.
No classes at school
As for schools, 149,000 students were left without classes due to the effects of Storm Gloria, especially in the Girona region. Some school bus lines in the Pyrenees were also canceled due to the snow.
300 mm of rainfall
The storm has left some 300 mm of rainfall in central, northern and southern parts of the country over the past four days, including 315 mm in Arbúcies (La Selva county), 303 mm in Puig Sesolles (Vallès Oriental), and 284 mm in Horta de Sant Joan (Terra Alta), as of 10am on Wednesday.
From Sunday until 11am on Wednesday, the emergency services phone number, 112, received 11,943 calls related to the storm – the authorities have reminded the public that this phone number is for emergencies only, with 012 being the number to request information.