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Spain braces for fifth storm in one week

MADRID, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The north of Spain is bracing itself for further damage as the storm "Stephanie" is predicted to make landfall in the north-western community of Galicia on Sunday.

Stephanie is predicted to bring winds that could contain gusts of up to 100 km per hour, accompanied by torrential rain and waves that could reach up to 10 meters in coastal areas.

Many beaches in Galicia and along the northern coast of Spain have been cordoned off in an attempt to prevent tragedies of people being swept out to sea.

The Spanish metrological agency AEMET predicts cloudy skies with the winds increasing throughout the day.

Stephanie is the fifth severe storm to hit the north of Spain in just a week and the continued extreme weather has already left a trail of damage, estimated at around 30 million euros (41 million U.S. dollars) in the last eight days.

These storms have hardly allowed residents to clear up the damage caused by one storm before the next arrived and have caused three probable deaths.

Authorities are still searching for a 15 year-old who was dragged out to sea as he cycled along a beach in the province of Lugo.

Meanwhile, two people from a family are still missing from the Galician town of Valdovino.

Winds of up to 135 km an hour were registered in Asturias and waves of up to 20 meters were measured in Cudileiro.

Transport links have been affected, with major disruption to air traffic to the north of Spain, while the four storms which have hit to date have caused damage estimated at 17 million euros in the Basque region.

In Basque, the town of San Sebastian was badly affected and it has been calculated that 1.25 million euros will be needed just to repair roads..

Neighboring Cantabria has suffered around 6 million euros worth of damage, while Asturias will need repair work totaling 5.5 million euros, with 2 million euros needed to repair the Luarca Giant Squid Museum, the only one of its kind in the world.

Now Stephanie is on the point of arriving and the fear is that she will be just as destructive, if not so as her predecessors, because as the Spanish saying goes, "it will rain where it is already wet." (1 euro = 1.36 U.S. dollars)

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