Floods hit Spanish Basque Country

28th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

Flooding struck Bilbao, the largest city in Spain's Basque Country, on Tuesday as heavy rain caused local rivers to burst their banks, forcing the closure of schools and roads, officials said.

MADRID—Bilbao's city hall urged parents to pick their children up from school early as a total of 34 schools across the northern Basque region, which has a population of just over three million people, closed because of the weather.

Authorities closed the northerly A-8 highway to Cantabria as well as several secondary roads after they became too hazardous for traffic.

Up to 40 millimetres (1.6 inches) of rain were forecast along with winds of up to 85 kilometres (50 miles) per hour, according to Spain's national weather office, prompting authorities to issue a severe weather warning for the region.

The Basque regional government said in a statement it had launched an emergency action plan to deal with the flooding, which comes after 26 people lost their lives over the weekend due to stormy weather in Spain's Catalonia region, southern France and Italy.

With a population of just under one million, Bilbao is the Basque region's financial capital and home to one of the Guggenheim Museums.


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