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Windstorm Xynthia Causes 45 Deaths in Western Europe

48.8N 2.3E

March 1st, 2010 Category: Winds

France - February 28th, 2010

France - February 28th, 2010

At least 45 people have been killed in storms that have lashed parts of Spain, Portugal and France, officials say. Forty of the victims died in western France, where many drowned or were hit by parts of buildings or falling trees.

The windstorm system, named Xynthia, has put five of the 95 French departments on red alert – only the second such warning since the new emergency system was introduced in 2001. Here, the storm can be seen over northern France. Upon opening the full image, Spain and Portugal are visible to the south, and Norway can be seen to the north.

Winds of up to 140km/h (87mph) caused chaos as they moved from Portugal up through the Bay of Biscay. Upon reaching Paris, wind speeds hitting 175km/h at the top of the Eiffel Tower, were reported. The storm system is moving north-eastwards and was expected to reach Denmark by the evening of the 28th, French meteorological authorities said.

Worst affected are the Vendee and Charente-Maritime regions on the western coast of France. Huge waves and strong gusts battered many coastal towns, spreading floods inland and destroying buildings. Residents took to their roofs in the Vendee region and police helicopters were in action attempting to locate and rescue them.

At least a dozen people are said to be missing in France and 59 others injured. In Germany, a man was killed and his wife injured when a tree fell on their car in the Black Forest region. Earlier on Sunday a falling tree killed two Spanish men in a car near Burgos. A Spanish woman was killed by a falling wall in Galicia, and a Portuguese boy was killed by a tree in Paredes.

More than a million homes in France have lost electricity. Rail services were severely affected in northern Spain and a number of trains in western France were delayed because of flooded tracks. Air France said 70 of its flights had been cancelled from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Spain’s Canary Islands, particularly La Palma, Gran Canaria and Tenerife, were also hit by the storm, although there was no great damage.

Spain’s Meseta Central and Duero River

41.6N 4.7W

July 24th, 2009 Category: Rivers

Spain - May 30th, 2009

Spain - May 30th, 2009

The Douro or Duero is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, with a total length of 897 km. It flows from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in the province of Soria, across northern-central Spain (here) and Portugal to its outlet at Porto.

In its Spanish section, the Duero crosses the great Castilian Meseta Central and meanders through five significant provinces of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon: Soria, Burgos, Valladolid, Zamora, and Salamanca.

The Meseta Central (“Inner Plateau”), whose terrain appears mostly golden yellow here, is a vast plateau in the heart of peninsular Spain, with elevations that range from 610 to 760 m.

Rimmed by mountains, the Meseta Central slopes gently to the west and to the series of rivers that form some of the border with Portugal. The area visible here is part of the plateau’s northern subregion.