Raging floods have left areas of southeast Spain on red alert as the region reels from the heaviest rainfall in more than a century.
Overnight torrential rain fell sparking flooding in the Valencia region and officials closed schools today affecting more than 250,000 children.
Videos from the towns of Moixent and Ontinyent show cars being caught up in the water and people struggling against the current to walk around.
An elderly couple in their 70s died when their car overturned and was swept away as fast-moving waters swamped a road in Caudete, around 60 miles from Valencia.
Three container lorries were also overturned while on a ferry bound for Majorca which was battered by waves thought to be eight metres high.
Raging floods have swept away cars in Moixent, Spain, pictured left and right, causing chaos with public transport and schools after torrential rain fell last night – with more expected today
Spanish weather service AEMET classified the region as being ‘at extreme risk’ as it forecast downpours of up to 90mm an hour and up to 180mm over 24 hours.
It is thought that the weather has been caused by the meteorological phenomenon called ‘cold drop’.
This often occurs in the Spanish autumn and often brings heavy rain and floods.
The storm is passing over the Mediterranean coast regions of Valencia, Murcia and Alicante during Thursday and Friday.
One of the first places to be hit was Ontinyent, a town south of Valencia, where the River Clariano flooded the streets Wednesday night.
Almost 300 liters of rain per square meter fell in 24 hours, which AEMET says is the heaviest recorded there since 1917.
Brown water rushed through streets, washing away cars, and almost reaching the tops of the front doors of houses along the riverbank.
Despite the chaos called by the extreme weather, no injuries were reported.
Another video filmed in Callosa de Segura showed the streets flooded and a man with an umbrella trying to get to a car. Almost 300 liters of rain per square meter fell in 24 hours in the Valencia region
Spanish weather service AEMET has classified the Valencia region as being ‘at extreme risk’. Pictured are cars being swept away in Moixent, right, and Callosa De Segura, left
The local Spanish government representative in Murcia, Francisco Jimenez, advised people to take ‘maximum precaution’ and said Thursday ‘is a good day to stay at home.’
‘Please maximise caution and avoid putting yourself in danger to take photos. Avoid driving,’ Ontinyent town hall warned on Twitter.
With the region on red alert, regional authorities in Valencia said they had ordered the closure of schools in 84 municipalities, affecting more than 255,000 pupils.
Local authorities in the neighbouring region of Murcia also ordered the closure of all schools on Thursday and Friday due to the heavy rain. A university was also closed.
In one video filmed during the bad weather three container lorries are seen overturned on board a ferry bound for Majorca that was caught in a heavy storm.
The Hypatia de Alejandria ferry, owned by the company Balearia, was headed to Alcudia in Majorca in the Balearic Islands after departing from the Port of Barcelona.
The ferry was expected to continue to Ciudadella in the island of Menorca, but was diverted back to Majorca due to the storm and high waves, according to local media.
Reports said that waves as high as eight metres (26 feet) battered the ferry and caused three lorries on board to overturn.
Three lorries were also overturned on a ferry heading to Alcudia after strong waves rocked the boat. The ferry was diverted to Palma as the port had cranes to help lift the lorries
In total, the ferry was transporting 77 lorries and 75 cars and 253 passengers were on board and other vehicles were reportedly damaged.
The ferry was diverted to the Majorca’s capital Palma as the port there has cranes that are better equipped to deal with the overturned lorries.
One driver said: ‘When we woke up at around 5am, we were not told anything. The ferry was rocking a lot. With the bad weather, the ferry should never have departed.’
Torrential rain and high winds are expected to continue to batter southern Valencia and northern Alicante today and are likely to continue into Friday, the national AEMET weather service said.
Valencia’s Port de Sagunt has also been closed until further notice, according to the port authority.
Local media said that train services and road networks have also been disrupted by the adverse weather.
Yesterday videos emerged of British holidaymakers making the best of the storms, with one seen using his lilo as a surf board.
The man drank a cocktail whilst floating down the high street wearing shorts and a vest in Magaluf.