Spain floods: Two dead, three missing as torrential rain hits Madrid and surrounding region

At least two people have died and three are missing after record rainfall caused heavy flooding in central Spain, shutting roads, subway lines and high-speed train services.

Helicopters were sent to rescue people who had sought refuge on the roofs of their homes in the Toledo area around 50 km (31 miles) southwest of Madrid, emergency services said on Monday.

The sudden downpour on Sunday and into early Monday transformed streets into rivers of mud that swept away cars, vans and rubbish bins in Madrid, Castile-La Mancha, Catalonia and Valencia regions. Hail also fell in many areas.

Two people died in the countryside around the central city of Toledo, where the weather service AEMET registered record rainfall of 90 litres per square metre on Sunday.

In the Madrid region, emergency services tackled almost 1,200 incidents overnight and firefighters and police were searching for one man in the rural area of Aldea del Fresno, southwest of the capital, the emergency services said.

The man went missing with his son when their car was dragged into the Alberche River after an avalanche caused by a sudden spate.

“The minor was rescued after he had climbed up a tree,” the Madrid emergency service said.

Rescuers were also looking for a woman who disappeared under similar circumstances near Toledo and for an 84-year-old man who was dragged off by streams of water and mud in Villamanta, west of Madrid.

Several roads in the Madrid region were closed as half-a-dozen bridges were torn down by water overflowing the riverbanks.

The rainfall, although still heavy in some places, was expected to wane later on Monday. The National Weather Agency on Monday lowered the alert level to yellow from orange and red on Sunday.

Several subway lines were closed in central Madrid early on Monday, though the service was re-established in most of the city during the morning and only a few stations near the River Manzanares were still closed around noon, Metro de Madrid subway operator said in a statement.

Some high-speed connections between Madrid and the southern region of Andalusia have resumed, but trains were operating at lower-than-normal speeds.

Dramatic footage on social media showed rainwater flooding into a metro carriage in the Spanish capital on Sunday.

Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday: “Due to the exceptional and abnormal situation, in which rainfall records will be broken, I ask the people of Madrid to stay at home today.”

Madrid’s emergency services sent texts to residents warning them of flood risks and advising them not to use vehicles.

LaLiga suspended an evening match between Atletico Madrid and Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid due to the alert.

In Alcanar, Tarragona, on Spain’s east coast, emergency services have also confined residents to their homes due to flooding after 215 litres per square metre of rain in the past 24 hours.