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Madrid – A large area of southeast Spain was on red alert Thursday as the heaviest rainfall in more than a century pounded the region.

The Spanish weather service AEMET classified the region as being “at extreme risk” as it forecast torrential downpours of up to 90mm an hour and up to 180mm over 24 hours.

The storm was passing over the Mediterranean coast regions of Valencia, Murcia and Alicante during Thursday and Friday.

One of the first places to be hit was Ontinyent, a town south of Valencia, where the River Clariano flooded the streets Wednesday night. Almost 300 liters of rain per square meter fell in 24 hours, which AEMET says is the heaviest recorded there since 1917.

Brown water rushed through streets, washing away cars, and almost reaching the tops of the front doors of houses along the riverbank.

No injuries were reported.

The local Spanish government representative in Murcia, Francisco Jiménez, advised people to take “maximum precaution,” adding that Thursday “is a good day to stay at home.”

Local schools canceled classes for more than 250,000 students.

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