The snow was falling late Saturday afternoon a little rarer over the center of the country, moving north-east, after 36 chaotic hours when snow squalls wreaked havoc on the road, rail and air axes , forcing the authorities to ask the population to stay at home.
“Let’s avoid travel and follow the directions of the emergency services. Let’s be extremely vigilant in the face of Storm Filomena, ”Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted.
The King and Queen of Spain have them shared on the same social network of “their pain” and their “concern” after learning about the victims of the storm, asking “the greatest vigilance against the risks of ice and snow ”.
“If, despite the extremely difficult weather conditions, the number of incidents is relatively limited, we still deplore the death of three people”, declared the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, during a conference Press.
One of these victims is a man found buried in snow in Zarzalejo, north-west of Madrid, his ministry said.
Mr. Grande-Marlaska asked the population to “postpone any travel by road”, while the rescue services and the army snow plows released 1,500 trapped motorists.
The minister insisted on the fact that “the snowfall was going to become icy” while according to the last bulletin of the meteorological services, this cold wave with temperatures below -10 degrees will last until Thursday.
Nearly 20,000 kilometers of 650 roads and bridges were affected by traffic problems, the interior ministry said.
Trees on the ground under the effect of snow and wind, abandoned cars and impassable sidewalks: in Madrid, covered by a blanket of snow unheard of for half a century, locals took out their skis as in the famous Puerta del Square. Sol or even a sled pulled by five dogs, according to images taken by AFP.
“I had never seen something like this, not a car in the city, snow everywhere (…) unforgettable, a historic moment”, entousiasm with AFP José Marqués, a driver of 56-year-old taxi.
Despite calls to limit travel, some could not help but go to explore Madrid under the snow: “I, who is 50 years old, had never seen that, and it is so, so atypical that you have to leave your home and go and enjoy it, ”says Alberto Soblechero, a 52-year-old lawyer.
Mayor José Luis Martinez-Almeida, on Twitter, urged residents not to leave their homes: “We are working to clear access to hospitals as quickly as possible but it is frankly complicated as long as it snows.”
All schools, from nursery schools to universities, will remain closed Monday and Tuesday, announced the president of the region Isabel Diaz Ayuso, as will the parks.
Madrid-Barajas International Airport, closed since Friday evening, will keep its doors closed on Saturday for “security reasons”. Thirty flights have already been canceled on Friday and almost as many have to land elsewhere.
The Spanish football championship match between Atletico Madrid and Bilbao has been postponed indefinitely, as has the Spain-Croatia handball match scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m.
Bus service has been suspended in the city and all trains to and from Madrid have been canceled, national rail company Renfe has reported, and two metro lines have seen part of their traffic in the capital .
Besides Madrid, the entire interior of the Iberian Peninsula was affected by this storm due to an interaction between a very humid and relatively gentle air flow arriving from the south-east and a very cold air mass.
On Sunday, snowfall is expected to shift to northeastern Spain.