Madrid flooding puts city in lockdown as desperate search underway for missing father and son

A desperate search is underway for a father and son missing near Madrid after flash floods hit Spain just weeks after wildfires struck.

Subway lines in the capital and high-speed train connections with southern cities were closed on Monday morning.

Emergency services were involved in almost 1,200 incidents in the region overnight and firefighters and police were seeking two missing men in the rural area of Aldea del Fresno, southwest of Madrid, said Javier Chivite, the spokesperson of the emergency services in the region.

“Two people are missing, a father and his son, they were in a vehicle that got in an avalanche caused by the spate of the Alberche river,” Chivite said. “We hope this will have a positive outcome.”

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

The sudden torrential rain that hit the country transformed streets into rivers in Madrid, Castile, Catalonia and Valencia regions.

Hail also fell in many areas.

The heavy rainfall was waning on Monday morning, though. Rain continued in most of the country, but the National Weather Agency on Monday lowered the alert level to yellow from orange and red on Sunday.

On Sunday Madrid’s mayor told all residents to stay at home as the capital braced itself for torrential rain and storms affecting parts of Spain.

National weather agency AEMET issued a maximum red alert, which means possible extreme danger, for Sunday in the Madrid region, Toledo province, and the city of Cadiz.

It said up to 120 litres per square metre of rain could fall over 12 hours in Madrid.

“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 Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Dark storm clouds were gathering over Madrid during the early afternoon of Sunday, but many people were outside as usual.

“I think (the red alert) is a good idea,” said Madrid resident Manuel Loro, 42. “The best thing to do is not to use your car today. It’s going to be strongest at six o’clock so we’ll go home earlier.”

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.

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