At least 2 people have died in the northern Spanish region of Navarre after heavy rainfall caused floods and landslides.
Parts of northern Spain have seen heavy rains since late November 2021, when floods sparked rescues in Asturias and Cantabria, and later in the Basque Country.
From around December 9th, 2021, there was further heavy rain with snowmelt at higher altitudes, which triggered floods in the Navarre region (also Navarra). On December 9th, the region’s government activated the pre-emergency level due to the threat of flooding from rising rivers such as the Ebro, Egg, Bidasoa and Arga.
On December 10, the government reported that the swollen Bidasoa River caused flooding in Elizondo, Baztan and Sunbilla and that it also affected some river communities along the Arga River, including the Pamplona districts of Rochapea, San Jorge and Txantrea and the towns of Huarte, Villava and Burlata. Dozens of people were evacuated from a care home in the Aranzadi community, Pamplona after the Arga flooded its banks on December 10th. On December 11th, the swollen Ebro caused floods in Tudela.
Flooded roads have isolated some communities. Floods affected two main highways – the N-121-A at the level of the Belate and Almandoz tunnels; and the N-135, in Puerto de Erro. Around thirty side streets were also blocked by floods, landslides or snow.
One fatality was reported following a landslide in the village of Sunbilla. One man was reported missing and later found dead after being washed away by the flooded Bidasoa River in Elizondo.
On December 12, the President of the Navarre Region, María Chivite, said that a total of 74 municipalities had been affected and announced that she would ask the central government to declare a natural disaster that would give access to the aid provided by the Spanish government and the European Union would allow.
Rivers and precipitation
According to the Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET), Bera in Navarre recorded 126.2 mm of rain and Roncesvalles 92.6 mm within 24 hours to 9 December. The following day, Roncesvalles saw another 134.2 mm, while Luzaide saw 91.8 mm and Esteribar 82.8 mm.
The Arga in Pamplona reached 4.80 meters on December 10th, while the Ebro in Castejón reached 7.94 meters on December 11th. The Government of Navarre announced that the Ebro at Tudela reached 6.17 meters on December 12, higher than during the 2015 floods when it reached 5.85 meters.
On December 13, the red alert was still in effect for the Ebro near Castejon and the Arga near Larraun. For the Ebro Alto in Logroño in the La Rioja region and further south in Zaragoza, the capital of the Aragon region, the rule was on 13.