How storm Gloria swept across Spain with strong winds, heavy snowfall and low temperatures

The death toll from a violent storm that has wrought havoc across huge swathes of Spain's eastern and southern coastline rose to 11 on Thursday, with rescue workers still searching for four people.

Spain's Southern, Eastern regions battered

Earlier, emergency services found the body of a man inside a vehicle in Cabaces, 60 kilometres (37 miles) northwest of the port city of Tarragona and a local official reported the death of 75-year-old woman whose house collapsed because of heavy rain in Alcoi, a town in the eastern Alicante region. 

Seven more storm-related deaths had already been reported since Sunday, when Storm Gloria hit the region bringing strong winds, torrential rains and heavy snow, battering Spain's southern and eastern flanks before moving north.
 

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Many towns are flooded

Heavy rains were whipped in by winds of 100 kilometres (62 miles) per hour to eastern Spain with snow also dumped in parts of the coastal region, one of the most popular tourist regions in Europe, leaving many towns flooded. Authorities warned that the death toll could rise further with four people still listed as missing in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.
 

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PM visits some worst hit areas

As the storm eased, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited some of the worst-hit areas on Thursday, overflying parts of Catalonia before heading to the Balearics which on Tuesday were hit by record waves. Speaking on the island of Mallorca, Sanchez pledged government help "immediately".

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Rescue work still continues

Rescuers on the islands are still searching for a 25-year-old Briton and a 41-year-old Spanish man, both of whom were last seen in northwestern Ibiza. 

They were also looking for a 27-year-old Spaniard who disappeared in Mallorca while practising canyoning -- a mix of rappelling, climbing and watersliding through deep gorges.

A 54-year-old Romanian woman was one of two homeless people who died of exposure in the southern Valencia region during the storm.
 

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Torrential rainfall in recent years

Spain has in recent years witnessed torrential rainfall of a rare intensity.

Last September, seven people were killed when gale-force winds and huge waves smashed into seafront towns in the east of the country.

In 2018, 13 people died in flash flooding on the holiday island of Mallorca.

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Climate change playing a part

The network of Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC) said in a study published in October that such extreme weather episodes were increasing due to climate change.

 

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Southern France parts also hit

Storm Gloria also hit parts of southern France, causing the evacuation of 1,500 people in the Pyrenees-Orientales region. They began to return home on Thursday.
 

(Photograph:AFP)