Spain – Widespread Flooding After Storm Dumps Over 240mm of Rain in 24 Hours

A slow-moving storm brought torrential rainfall and strong winds to parts of Spain from 02 September 2023. Emergency crews have responded to thousands of incidents across the regions of Catalonia, Valencia, Andalusia, Castile and León, Castilla-La Mancha and around the capital, Madrid.

As of 04 September, authorities had report numerous evacuations, high-water rescues, missing persons and fatalities.

Flood damage in Buenache de Alarcón, Spain, September 2023. Photo: Ayuntamiento Buenache de Alarcón

In a 24-hour period to 03 September, the storm, referred to as “Depresión Aislada en Niveles Altos,” or DANA, by Spanish authorities, dumped 217.7 mm of rain in Alcanar and 243.4 mm of rain in Mas de Barberans, both located in Catalonia. The total seen in Mas de Barberans is the highest in 23 years.

Other areas of the country also saw significant rainfall totals during the same period, according to figures provided by the State Meteorological Agency AEMET, including:

  • San José del Valle, Cádiz: 172.2 mm
  • San Rafael, Segovia: 147.8 mm
  • Estación de Tortosa (Roquetes), Tarragona: 117.2 mm
  • Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid: 104.9 mm
  • Cebreros, Ávila: 96.0 mm
  • Toledo, Toledo: 91.8 mm
  • La Pobla de Benifassà-Fredes, Castelló/Castellón: 83.2 mm


Civil Protection in Catalonia responded to 288 incidents related to heavy rain, floods and strong winds on 03 September, mostly in Alcanar, Santa Barbara, Amposta and L’Ametlla de Mar. Thousands were affected by power outages.

Inhabitants of Alcanar in Tarragona Province, were told to stay in their homes and move to upper floors after severe flooding swept through areas of the municipality. The same area suffered severe flooding in September 2021.

Two people were rescued from a flooded house in L’Aldea, also in  Tarragona Province, situated close to the mouth of the Ebro River.


Parts of nearby Castellón Province in Valencia Region also experienced severe flooding. In Vinaròs, firefighters rescued one person from a flooded houses and several others trapped in their vehicles.

Firefighters also rescued around 15 people from vehicles trapped in flood water in Valencia Province. Emergency authorities in the region also reported around 30 severe weather-related incidents in Alicante Province.


Emergency services in the Andalusia Region said areas of Cádiz and Seville Provinces were hardest hit. Firefighters carried out 60 interventions as a result of heavy rain in Seville province, including in the city of Seviile and other municipalities including Dos Hermanas, Alcalá del Río, Alcalá de Guadaíra, La Rinconada, Utrera, Gelves and Coria del Río.

112 Andalusia has responded to around 70 incidents in the province of Cádiz in particular in San José del Valle and Chipiona. roads were blocked and some homes flooded.

Community of Madrid

Firefighters and emergency workers were searching for 2 people reported missing after a vehicle fell into the Alberche river in Aldea del Fresno around 40km west of the city of Madrid late on 03 September 2023.

The vehicle was carrying a family of 4 people at the time. Two of the passengers managed to escape the vehicle and were later taken to hospital for treatment. Local media have since reported one of those missing has since been located clinging to a tree for safety. The search for the remaining missing person is continuing.

Two bridges have been damaged or destroyed in the area, further complicating the situation and leaving residents of Aldea del Fresno isolated. The nearby towns of Navalcarnero and El Álamo have also experienced severe flooding.

Around 6 people had to evacuate their homes in Móstoles after the Guadarrama river broke its banks. The evacuees were moved to emergency accommodation at a nearby school.

Across the region of Madrid, firefighters have reported 1,491 incidents related to the severe weather. Roads have been closed and train and subway services interrupted. The mayor of the city requested inhabitants remain indoors on 03 September and sports events were cancelled.

Castilla-La Mancha

Areas of Toledo Province have experienced severe flooding since heavy rainfall on 03 September. Numerous train services have been interrupted.

In the last few hours local media reported two fatalities in the province. One person died after a vehicle was swept away by floods in Bargas. Another fatality was exported in Casarrubios del Monte but no further details were available.

Among the hardest hit areas in the Castile-La Mancha Region is the municipality of Buenache de Alarcon in the province of Cuenca.

First responders resuscitated a person who was trapped in a flooded house. Flooding has damaged water and power infrastructure, along with roads  homes and vehicles and wide areas of farmland.

During a visit to assess the damage, the Mayor of Buenache de Alarcón, Raquel Hortelano said “We are cleaning the streets of the mud and there are shops and houses flooded with mud and we cannot keep up.”

The mayor will request the declaration of a natural disaster to help the municipality in its recovery.

Flood damage in Buenache de Alarcón, Spain, September 2023. Photo: Ayuntamiento Buenache de Alarcón

Flood damage in Buenache de Alarcón, Spain, September 2023. Photo: Ayuntamiento Buenache de Alarcón