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Bad weather blamed for Spain deaths

High winds, torrential rain and crashing waves killed two people and temporarily shut a Spanish opera house, while blustery weather elsewhere in Europe delayed trains and caused severe flooding.

A 47-year-old man and an 11-year-old girl drowned in the Canary Islands when they were swept away by waves on La Graciosa island on Thursday, the regional government said.

Two other members of the same family - a 16-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl - were rescued by boats. In another incident, a Russian yachtsman was plucked from his foundering vessel.

Valencia's opera house, which was scheduled for a Friday concert, was shut after parts of the building's masonry fell.

Regional government spokesman Maximo Buch said the building would remain closed indefinitely until repairs make it safe again.

The music venue was designed by Valencia-born architect Santiago Calatrava and generated headlines in 2006 when it was revealed that its construction had cost more than 332 million euros (£277m), a sum that was four times the original budget.

In Britain, Friday's foul weather complicated efforts to clean up from a previous storm which hit just before Christmas, lashing the country with driving rain, causing floods, cutting power and disrupting travel for thousands.

France's national weather service raised the flood alert for much of France's northwest. The Interior Ministry warned that areas that were flooded in another storm earlier this week could be hit again.

An oil tanker that ran aground off the Moroccan port of Tan Tan during high winds on Monday, meanwhile, remained stuck there. The vessel did not appear to be leaking any of its 5,000-ton cargo.


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