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    Northeastern Spain, southern France to face flood threat into Saturday

    By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
    March 24, 2017, 7:59:17 AM EDT

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    Residents from Barcelona, Spain, to Nice, France, will face the risk of flooding rain into the start of the weekend.

    The same storm that allowed unusual snow to fall in Madrid on Thursday will tap into enough moisture from the Mediterranean Sea to unleash heavy rain in northeastern Spain, the southern coast of France and neighboring coastal northwestern Italy.

    A band of rain, heavy at times, will swing across northeastern Spain into Friday evening before targeting southeastern France and the northwestern coast of Italy once again on Saturday.

    Spain 3/24


    “A total of 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) from northeastern Spain into the western Alps is likely with locally over 75 mm (3 inches),” AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

    The risk for flash flooding will be greatest in northeastern Spain and France’s southern Languedoc-Roussillon region, where most of the rain will pour down in six hours or less. Rainfall rates can reach 25 mm (an inch) per hour for a time.

    "March is not a month of torrential rains in the Mediterranean, so if flooding finally occurs at this time, it would be an unusual episode," Gabriel Salvà, a meteorologist at Barcelona's International Airport, told AccuWeather.

    Low-lying and poor drainage areas can become inundated, as well as places along small streams. Motorists should prepare for temporary road closures. Mudslides are a risk along the slopes of the Pyrenees.

    “Snowfall across the higher terrain of the Pyrenees and the western Alps will be close to and locally above 60 cm (2 feet),” Roys said.

    RELATED:
    France interactive radar
    Spain interactive radar
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    In addition to the rain, thunderstorms and a period of strong winds will whip northeastern Spain and the southern coast of France late Friday into Friday night. Wind gusts of 64-97 km/h (40-60 mph) will howl, creating rough seas and sporadic power outages.

    The winds may have an easier time toppling trees due to the saturated soil.

    The rain will fall over a longer duration toward Marseille and Nice with the heaviest expected on Saturday.

    Any heavier downpours can cause isolated flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas.

    The southern slopes of the mountains are most prone for such flooding downpours.

    Even where flooding does not ensue, any downpours will pose risks to motorists by reducing visibility and heightening the risk of vehicles hydroplaning when traveling at highway speeds.

    Additional showers will follow for Sunday and early next week, but the risk of downpours and flooding will lessen.

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