BARCELONA (Reuters) – Four people have died in strong winds, heavy snowfall and low temperatures as Storm Gloria swept across Spain on Sunday and Monday, officials said.
With more than 30 provinces on bad weather alert, Valencia on the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands were bearing the brunt of the storm on Monday.
Port authorities estimated waves of 8.44 meters in Valencia on Monday, which they said was a record, while a Reuters witness said waves had been growing throughout the day, crashing on to Barcelona’s famous Barceloneta beach.
A 63-year-old man died at home in the central province of Avila after being hit by roof tiles lifted by a gust of wind, said David Segovia, mayor of the town of Pedro Bernardo.
Unusually cold weather was blamed for the death of a 54-year-old homeless woman in Gandia, near Valencia, a municipal official told Reuters.
One man in northwest Asturias region was killed by a vehicle on a snowbound road, reportedly struck while fitting chains to his car, an emergency services spokesman said.
And Spanish media quoted the mayor of the Valencian town of Moixent as saying a fourth man had died after being found outside his home showing signs of hypothermia on Monday morning.
Catalonia’s regional government ordered a ban on all outdoor activities in the Girona, Barcelona and central Catalonia regions, a spokesman for its interior department said, adding those who did not comply with the ban could face a fine.
The storm also forced the closure of Alicante airport, leading to the cancellation of nearly 200 flights.
National weather agency Aemet reported winds of up to 115 km per hour (71 mph) and eight-meter (26-feet) waves in the province of Valencia. At least 120 councils there decided to suspend school and hundreds of kilometers of roads were cut off.
(Reporting by Elena Rodriguez, Nacho Doce and Jessica Jones; Editing by Andrei Khalip, Andrew Cawthorne and Nick Macfie)