Spain's heaviest snowfall since 1970s blankets Madrid

Storm Filomena has wreaked havoc across Spain, suspending travel across the country. So far, the storm has led to fourth deaths and continues to blanket Madrid in the heaviest snowfall received in decades. Many troops have been mobilised by authorities to rescue motorists who may be trapped in the snow. Take a look at these haunting images from the country

Over 1,000 trapped in cars

Rescue services reached 1,500 people trapped in cars, while skiers glided down Gran Via, normally one of the busiest streets in the capital. Other Madrid residents used the freak blizzard to snowboard down the road or pelt each other with snowballs. A man and woman who were traveling in a car drowned after a river burst its banks near Malaga, southern Spain, and two homeless people froze to death, one in Madrid and the other in the eastern city of Calatayud, authorities said.


Royal family responds

Responding to the events, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia tweeted: "The royal family would like to express their sorrow for victims of the storm ... and ask for extreme caution against the risks of accumulation of ice and snow."


Government dissuades travellers

Interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska urged Spaniards to avoid all but essential travel. "We are facing the most intense storm in the last 50 years," he said.


Over 650 roads blocked

More than 650 roads were blocked by snow, said Grande-Marlaska, leaving some drivers stuck in their cars from Friday night until Saturday.


Madrid airport to remain shut

Aena, which controls the country's airports, said Madrid's Barajas airport, which was closed on Friday night, would remain shut for the rest of Saturday. It said at least 50 flights to Madrid, Malaga, Tenerife and Ceuta, a Spanish territory in North Africa, were canceled. The State Meteorological Agency said it was the heaviest snowfall in Madrid since 1971, while José Miguel Viñas, a meteorologist from Spanish National Radio, said that between 25 cm and 50 cm (10-20 inches) had fallen in the capital, which he said made it the largest snowfall since 1963.


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