Madrid sees the heaviest snowfall in 50 years when storms snore in Spain

One day after blizzards caused chaos over large parts of Spain, forecasters warned that more was to come on Saturday, as five regions were put under red warning.

Storm Filomena blocked roads, especially in the middle of the country, where the capital Madrid saw its heaviest snowfall since 1971.

Madrid Barajas Airport was closed late on Friday and hundreds of motorists were left behind.

The AEMET weather bureau described the situation as “exceptional and probably historic”.

Another 20 centimeters (almost eight inches) were expected to fall on Saturday in Madrid and the lower plains of central Spain, with up to 50 centimeters at higher altitudes.

“It has been a complicated day but tomorrow will be even more difficult,” Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida tweeted in a video just before midnight on Friday.

In an update on Saturday, he described the situation as “extremely serious” and urged people not to leave the home.

Authorities shut down bus services and garbage dumps in the city after a night in which snow continued to fall steadily.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also tweeted urging people to stay indoors and follow the rescue service’s instructions.

Madrid’s emergency services said it had worked all night to help captured motorists and free a thousand vehicles. They asked others who were still stuck to be patient.

The snowfall disrupted traffic on almost 400 roads, transport officials and the Renfe railway network said high-speed trains between Madrid and Valencia had been suspended.

Dog team seen in Madrid

The snow turned Madrid’s famous Puerta del Sol into a winter sports ground, as skiers – and even a man on a sleigh pulled by five dogs – made their way to the normally busy street.

Apart from Madrid, the regions of Aragon, Valencia, Castilla La Mancha and Catalonia were the hardest hit by the snowstorms.

The historic city of Toledo asked the military for help clearing the streets, as did Albacete in the southeast, public television reported.

Forecasts said that the heavy snow would continue until Sunday, before Storm Filomena begins to move northeast, although temperatures would be exceptionally low.

Before the snowfall began on Thursday morning, temperatures had already dropped to an unofficial record level of -34.1 degrees Celsius (-29.38 Fahrenheit) at a ski resort in the central Pyrenees on Wednesday.

Filomena has also brought intense rain and strong winds to the Canary Islands as well as the southern coast of Spain.

(AFP)