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Spain: Storm death toll up to 7, major river floods feared

MADRID – Three more people have died as a result of a fierce storm that has battered Spain for the past three days, authorities said Wednesday, raising the death toll to seven.

Fears increased that heavy rains expected later Wednesday could lead to several swollen rivers breaking their banks, among them the Onyar river that flows through the northeastern city of Gerona .

The body of a missing man was found Wednesday in a flooded area near the town of Callosa, in southeastern Spain, the local Valencia regional government said.

It added that a woman was killed when her apartment building partially collapsed in the town of Alcoy, following heavy rains.

In the southeastern town of Nijar, a farmer was found dead in a plastic greenhouse that had been hit by a hail storm, according to the private Spanish news agency Europa Press.

Four other people died between Sunday and Tuesday.

Searches continued for several missing people.

Since Sunday, the storm has hit mostly eastern areas of Spain with hail, heavy snow and high winds, while huge waves smashed into towns on the Mediterranean coast and the nearby islands of Mallorca and Menorca.

Weather forecasts said the worst of the storm had passed by Wednesday.

Transport authorities said the bad weather forced the closure of more than 200 roads. Schools canceled classes for more than 5,700 pupils.

Officials in Barcelona said the city’s beaches lost much of their sand due to the high, powerful surf.

Rubén del Campo, spokesman for national weather service AEMET, said he expected that once all data was collected the storm will have been one of the strongest on record. Some areas saw their heaviest rainfall in more than 70 years.