It is rare that it snows in Spain. Yesterday it was even colder on the Iberian Peninsula than in Switzerland.
Spain’s capital disappears under a thick blanket of snow: In Madrid, the heaviest snowfalls in 50 years have caused traffic chaos. The airport of the Spanish capital had to be closed on Friday evening for security reasons. Another 20 centimeters of snow was expected for Saturday. Other parts of the country were also hit by the snow masses.
The Spanish weather service Aemet declared the center of the country a red alert. The regions of Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha (center) and Valencia (east) were hardest hit by the snowfalls. According to Aemet, an average of another 20 centimeters of snow was expected for Saturday in the capital and in the central plateau of the country, in the highest elevations, up to 50 centimeters could fall.
Colder than in Switzerland
Traffic was disrupted on more than 400 streets, hundreds of car and truck drivers stranded at rest areas due to the weather or got stuck in the snow. The train service between Madrid and Valencia was also disrupted, according to the Renfe railway company. The town hall of the historic city of Toledo had to be cleared of snow with the help of the army.
There has been no such snowfall in Madrid since 1971. Children built snowmen while people skied past them. Public bus transport and garbage collection have been discontinued. Barajas International Airport should be closed all Saturday. Madrid Mayor José Luis Martinez-Almeida posted a video on Twitter calling on people to stay home.
According to the weather forecast, the trigger for the snowfall – storm Filomena – will move northeast on Sunday. Although this should reduce the snowfall, the unusually low temperatures will probably remain. An unofficial national temperature record of -34.1 degrees was measured on Wednesday at an altitude of more than 2000 meters at the private weather station in Clot de la Llança in the central Spanish Pyrenees. That is colder than the lowest temperature reached in Switzerland that same night.