Unusual snow kills 4, brings much of Spain to a standstill

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GBNEWS24 DESK//

A persistent blizzard blanketed large parts of Spain with an unusual amount of snow on Saturday, killing at least four people and leaving thousands trapped in cars or at train stations and airports that suspended all services, reports Associated Press.

The national weather agency reported that as of 7am on Sunday (5pm AEDT), the snowfall in Madrid reached a level unseen in half a century. More than 50cm of snow fell in the Spanish capital, according to the weather agency AEMET.

The bodies of a man and woman were recovered by the Andalucía region emergency service after their car was washed away by a flooded river near the town of Fuengirola. The Interior Ministry said a 54-year-old man was also found dead in Madrid under a big pile of snow. A homeless man died of hypothermia in the northern city of Zaragoza, the local police department reported.

People walk along "El Paseo de la Castellana" avenue during a heavy snowfall in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (AP)
People walk along “El Paseo de la Castellana” avenue during a heavy snowfall in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (AP)

More than half of Spain’s provinces remained under severe weather alerts for Storm Filomena on Saturday evening, seven of them at the highest level of warning. In Madrid, authorities activated a red alert for the first time since the system was adopted four decades ago and called in the military to rescue people from vehicles trapped on everything from small roads to the city’s major thoroughfares.

Sandra Morena, who became trapped late on Friday as she commuted to her night shift as a security guard in a shopping centre, arrived home, on foot, after an army emergency unit helped her out on Saturday morning.

“It usually takes me 15 minutes, but this time it has been 12 hours freezing, without food or water, crying with other people because we didn’t know how we were going to get out of there,” said Morena, 22.

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