Four people have lost their lives due to a severe storm that affects Spain and has left a historical snowfall that has collapsed Madrid and many other towns in the center of the country, where land transport is interrupted, hundreds of cars were trapped and the airport of the capital is still paralyzed.
Although it remits, the risk of snowfall is very high in the regions of Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha and areas of the Valencian Community, where there will be severe frosts in the coming days, while the maximum alert already extends to the northeast of the country. The storm Filomena leaves, in addition, abundant rains, wind and strong waves in other parts.
The State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) He anticipates that the storm will lose its strength throughout Sunday but warns of the arrival of a harsh cold wave with temperatures of down to -10ºC.
“As of Monday the 11th, an Atlantic anticyclone will enter from the west that will stabilize the situation (…) With the arrival of the anticyclone, there will be a sharp drop in night temperatures, with generalized frosts in the interior of the peninsula, which will be strong in mountain areas and in large flat areas with snowy surfaces, especially affecting the central zone and areas of the interior of the eastern half, which is where the most important snowfalls are being recorded “, explains the entity through a document shared on its social networks.
Barajas Airport stopped all flights to and from Madrid until further notice. Many travelers have been left in limbo.
“They got us off the plane, they told us they were going to take us to a hotel and we have been here all holy night without absolutely anyone taking care of us,” said Manuel Garea, an engineer trapped in Barajas.
‘The snow of the century’
The snowfall in Madrid, which lasted more than 30 hours in a row, left a precipitation of more than 33 liters per square meter, the highest in the city since 1971, according to the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet).
The capital is blocked with half a meter or more thick snow, according to the mayor, José Luis Martínez Almeida, who asked the regional government and the Spanish Executive “human and material resources” sufficient to face this ‘tsunami’, he said, leaving the city in a “very difficult” situation when temperatures drop drastically.
It is only possible to move on foot, something very difficult and dangerous due to the risk of landslides, or in the subway, which suffers occasional cuts, while many commercial and hotel establishments remain closed and hospital entrances were covered in snow.
Many homes in Madrid were left without water, electricity or heating, with outside temperatures below zero degrees, according to several of those affected.
The Military Emergency Unit, which helped free the occupants of more than 1,300 stuck cars, continues to work to clear the highways that bypass Madrid.
Concern and joy in the same winter setting
The phenomenon, unusual in the capital of Spain, brought a white stamp of roads, highways and streets impassable for cars, but taken by hundreds of curious people eager to play and enjoy the snow, despite the risks, even throwing balls with music and skiing in well-known places such as Puerta del Sol, Gran Vía and Paseo de la Castellana, packed with cars any other day.
“I, who am over fifty years old, had never seen it and the truth is that it is something so, so atypical that you have to leave home and enjoy it,” said Alberto Soblechero, a Madrid lawyer.
The authorities ask the Spanish to stay in their homes. This is the most intense storm in the last 50 years.
The educational centers of Madrid and its surroundings will be closed Monday and Tuesday. And Valencia, Castellón, Tarragona, Teruel and Zaragoza remain on red alert.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.