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The storm Filomena It has unleashed a snow nightmare in Madrid: citizens trapped overnight in their cars, fallen trees, falling cornices, blocked streets, emergency services who cannot move and essential personnel who cannot go to work. The mayor of the capital, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has asked citizens not to leave home due to a situation that he described as “very serious.” The biggest snowfall in half a century on Friday offered surreal images, like an individual in a dog sled driving down the street, skiers in Puerta del Sol and on the Gran Vía or ball wars in Callao But as the snowfall intensified throughout the afternoon, things got worse, with thousands of people locked in their cars. Almost 1,500 people have already been evacuated, but they are still trapped in a hundred vehicles. A couple has died when their vehicle was dragged by the current in Mijas (Málaga) and the corpse of a 54-year-old man covered in snow has been found in Zarzalejo (Madrid). In addition to the homeless man who died from cold in Calatayud (Zaragoza), there are four fatalities. Classes have been suspended in Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha on Monday and Tuesday, while forecasts suggest that it will continue to snow all day in the center and east of the country. [Siga toda la información del temporal, en directo].
Emergencies 112 has encrypted at three in the afternoon 1,300 cars rescued from the roads of Madrid by firefighters, the Civil Guard and the Military Emergency Unit (UME) of the Army. Inside, according to the balance offered by the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, there were almost 1,500 people who have been saved. “There is a lot of work ahead, there are still citizens in their cars, trapped by the snow for many hours, but the situation is gradually improving,” says David García, spokesman for 112, who estimates 100 vehicles to which It has not yet been possible to access the M-40 and M-50 bypass with A-5. García calls on citizens not to take the car under any circumstances, only essential services and with chains: “We cannot have more trapped today.”
According to the Civil Guard, at this time they work inside access A5 / 1, where vehicles are being taken in the opposite direction with the help of the UME, and on the A-4 at kilometer 36 in both directions. The National Police has carried out “humanitarian services in Madrid, Aranjuez, Alcorcón, Valdepeñas (Ciudad Real), Toledo and Cuenca,” reports Interior. The UME has been intervening throughout the early morning and morning on the A-5 (Móstoles and Alcorcón), the A-4 (Aranjuez and Ciempozuelos) and the A-3 (Arganda and Rivas Vaciamadrid), as well as at different points of the M-30, M-40, M-45 and M-50. Drivers from the M-506 in Pinto, the A-3, the N-607, the M-408 and the A-1 with the M-603 have also been evacuated.
There is still a very adverse day ahead due to the formidable storm of snow, rain, wind, rough seas and low temperatures arising from the interaction of Filomena with the mass of cold air installed in the Peninsula. This Saturday, the storm continues to move and is already in the Mediterranean, details Rubén del Campo, spokesman for the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet). The humid winds from the Mediterranean are giving it even more fuel to intensify the rainfall in the eastern peninsula, most of it in the form of snow. Today’s snowfalls are, in addition to being more extensive, “more abundant than in previous days”, Del Campo warns, with a probability higher than 80% in “practically” the entire interior of the country, except western Andalusia and Extremadura. Galicia and points of the northern third.
At noon, the red notices that hung since Friday afternoon on Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha have been lifted, so that, of 10 provinces that have spent the night and morning of this Saturday on maximum alert, there are five left. These are Valencia, Castellón, Tarragona, Teruel and Zaragoza. In them, it is expected that 20 centimeters of snow will accumulate at any level, snowfalls that also fall accompanied by a blizzard. Another 22 provinces are on orange alert, the second on a scale of three, for snowfalls of 30 to 5 centimeters. They are Madrid ― metropolitan area, Henares, south, Vegas and west and the mountains―, Toledo, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Ávila, Valladolid, Burgos, Segovia, Salamanca, Palencia, Soria, Cáceres, Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Huesca, La Rioja , Navarra, Cantabria, Gipuzkoa, Álava and Bizkaia. Finally, Badajoz, Asturias and León have yellow warning, the lowest, for accumulated 10 to two centimeters. In total, the snow affects 30 of the 50 provinces.
Beyond the snow, the rain can be strong and accompanied by storms in the southeast of the Balearic Islands, southern Andalusia and parts of the Canary Islands, where there are yellow warnings because 60 to 20 liters of water per square meter can accumulate more. The cold also continues and it will barely exceed 0 degrees throughout the day, as well as wind of up to 80 kilometers per hour in the Galician, Andalusian and northern Mediterranean coasts, and the bad seas on all coasts, with waves of three to five meters, so all the communities and Ceuta are on alert for one or another phenomenon. Only Melilla is saved.
Regarding traffic, at two in the afternoon there were 652 roads and ports affected by the snow to the circulation, of which six of the main network – three in Toledo, CM-40, CM-42 and To-22 -, one in Girona ―the C-25―, the M-40 and the A-4. There were also 30 roads in the main network where it is necessary to use chains, including all those in the Community of Madrid. In total, 11,293 kilometers of track with chains and 1,976 closed to traffic.
In the capital, blocked by snow, the public bus service does not work, garbage collection has been suspended and Mayor Almeida has asked not to leave home and, to the central government, “human and material resources” to face the “snow tsunami”, which can leave the city in a “very complicated” situation due to the “drastic drop in temperatures after the end of the snowfall. The only way to get around is by metro and, even so, some lines are cut off.
The situation caused by the storm in Madrid went in a few hours from offering postcard images that were multiplying on social networks to becoming a serious emergency, with enormous difficulties for relief services to move through a city flooded by snow. Mercamadrid, the main source of supply in the region, is closed. The Barajas airport, which suspended its operations around nine at night, will not be operational again until eleven at night. The airports of Las Palmas, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca have canceled all flights to and from Madrid.
There are also numerous truckers stranded in other provinces: there are 1,300 in Guadalajara alone, 100 in Segovia and 39 in Ávila. In the three Valencian provinces, there are about 400 trucks bagged waiting for the roads to be passable again. In the last hours, vehicles trapped by the snow have been rescued in this community, but at the moment no victims or personal injuries have been registered. The Civil Guard patrols are guaranteeing access to the Cofrentes power station.
With information from Cristina Vazquez, Manuel Viejo, Luis de Vega, Nacho Sánchez, Miguel González, Óscar López Fonseca and Patricia Ortega Dolz.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.