Madrid has experienced its heaviest snowfall in half a century causing chaos and disruption across the capital and region.
Up to 50 cm of snow has fallen over the last 24 hours and overnight temperatures fell to mins -5 degrees in the Sierra of Madrid.
Barajas Airport was closed on Friday and is expected to remain closed until Sunday morning with all flights cancelled until then.
Madrid’s regional and city buses have all suspended services and the Spanish railway RENFE have cancelled all long distance AVE and commuter Cercanias trains.
The state meteorological agency, AEMET issued the first red weather warning for Madrid in its history adding to those of the autonomous communities of Castilla y Leon, Aragon, Valencia and Cataluñia as well as the provinces of Albacete, Cuenca, Toledo, Guadalajara, Castellón, Tarragona, Teruel and Zaragoza with up to 20 cm of snow expected from the effects of Storm Felomina.
The Spanish Army’s Emergency Unit (UME), intervened last night to try to rescue people who were stuck on the main motorways entering Madrid with an estminated 1400 people trapped in their vehicles.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called on citizens to avoid making journeys and to follow instructions from the emergency services. He also paid tribute to the latter for their efforts to rescue people who had become trapped in the snow.
Madrid City Hall issued a request for citizens to stay in their homes, due to incidents such as falling trees and branches as well as masonry from buildings under the weight of the snow.
The Public Works minister for the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha, Nacho Hernando, also made a “heartfelt” plea for citizens to stay at home, saying that these weather conditions have not been seen in the territory since 1904.
Madrid City Hall has announced that the capital’s metro system will be operative 24 hours to deal with the difficulty of road transportation.
In the capital, residents took to snowshoes, skis and and even huskey sleds to get around.