Spain is still digging itself out after the biggest snowstorm to hit the Mediterranean country in 50 years slammed the capital, Madrid, and surrounding regions over the weekend, disrupting transit and efforts to distribute coronavirus vaccines, and causing at least four deaths.
The bulk of the snow from Storm Filomena began falling Friday evening and left 20 inches in the capital and nearby provinces by the end of Saturday.
Rail service in some areas was suspended, and the New York Times reported that 12,500 miles of roads were closed or disrupted. Firefighters, members of the military, and emergency crews worked to clear runways and roads from Friday into Saturday, freeing more than 1,500 people trapped in their cars in freezing temperatures.
Although hundreds of roads had been cleared by Sunday and outgoing flights had resumed at the Madrid-Barajas airport, the Associated Press reported that roads in parts of the country were still largely blocked, and officials warned the country was not yet in the clear.
“A week of extreme cold is coming and that will transform all the snow on the ground to ice, thereby multiplying the risk,” Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told reporters on Sunday. “The storm is bringing with it a cold wave that could push temperatures down to record levels,” he added.
At least four people died as a result of the storm. Two people experiencing homelessness died from exposure — one near Madrid and another in Calatayud, a city located in the country’s northeast. A woman and a man also drowned after their car was swept away in floods when a river burst close to the southern town of Malaga.
Government authorities on Sunday cautioned people to stay off the roads as much as
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