Madrid (AP)—Continuous snowstorms swept through most of Spain, setting the highest snowfall level in 50 years, killing at least four people and trapping thousands of people in cars, train stations and airports. The snow continued to fall due to snow , These cars or train stations and airports suspended all services on Saturday.
The bodies of a man and a woman were recovered by emergency services in Andalusia after being washed away by a flooded river near Fuengirola. The Ministry of the Interior said that another 54-year-old man was killed in a snowdrift in Madrid. The local police station reported that a homeless person in the northern city of Zaragoza died of hypothermia.
On Saturday afternoon, more than half of Spain’s provinces were still on alert, and five of them were at the highest warning level for Storm Philomena. For the first time since the system was adopted forty years ago, the authorities have activated a red alert in the capital and called on the military to save people from vehicles stuck on everything from small roads to the main roads of the city.
Snow fell more than 50 cm (20 inches) in the capital. At 7 AM on Saturday and Saturday, the AEMET National Weather Service recorded the highest 24-hour snowfall in Madrid since 1
Sandra Morena (Sandra Morena) was trapped on Friday night when she was working as a security guard in a shopping mall overnight shift. After an army emergency rescue unit helped her go on Saturday morning, she walked home.
“I usually need 15 minutes, but this time it has been frozen for 12 hours, without food or water, but weeping with other people because we don’t know how we will leave there,” 22-year-old Morena said.
She added: “Snow can be beautiful, but it’s boring because it’s stuck in the car all night,”
AEMET warned that due to the stagnant cold air mass on the Iberian Peninsula and the arrival of the warmer storm Philomena in the south, some areas will experience snow for more than 24 hours.
The agency said the storm is expected to move northeast throughout Saturday, but then there will be a cold.
The Minister of Transport, José Luis Ábalos, warned: “Snow will turn into ice and we will be in a situation that may be more dangerous than it is now.”
He added that the priority is to assist those in need, but also to ensure the supply chain of food and other basic commodities.
“This storm has exceeded our most pessimistic prediction,” Ábalos added.
Carlos Novillo, head of the Madrid Emergency Agency, said that more than 1,000 cars have been trapped, mainly in the city’s ring road and from the capital to the south to Castilla La Mancha. (Castilla La Mancha) and Andalucia (Andalucia) on the main highway.
“The situation is still high-risk. This is a very complex phenomenon and a critical situation.
He added: “We ask all those who are still trapped to wait patiently and we will find you as soon as possible.”
Airport operator AENA said that after a snowstorm made machines and workers work hard to keep the runway snow-free, Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas International Airport, the main gateway inside and outside the country, will be closed throughout the day.
The railway operator Renfe said all trains, commuter routes and long-distance passenger trains entering and leaving Madrid, as well as railway lines between the south and northeast of the country, have been suspended.
According to the Spanish Transport Authority, by Saturday morning, the storm had caused severe damage or closed more than 650 roads and urged people to stay indoors and avoid all unnecessary travel.
The cold weather even brought the country’s football league to a halt, and some top La Liga teams were unable to play. The Saturday match between Spanish league leaders Atletico Madrid and Atletico Bilbao was postponed because the plane carrying the Bilbao team could not land in the capital on Friday and had to turn around.
The Castilla La Mancha and Madrid regions, where 8.6 million people live, announced that schools will be closed for at least Monday and Tuesday.
Although countless branches and even entire trees were overwhelmed by the snow, the blizzard also produced surreal images that delighted many Madrileños, including some brave skiers and a dog sledding. These videos are social Seen in the video widely circulated in the media.
Lucía Valles (Lucía Valles) is a coach of a Madrid ski club. She usually has to travel to distant mountains with her clients. She was excited to see the white snow layer just outside her house.
The 23-year-old said: “I never imagined that this is really a gift.” “But I have never taken so many photos of me,” she said as she gliding over the late 18th century building in the Prado Museum .
Associated Press writer Joseph Wilson, Barcelona, Spain, contributed to this report.