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Spain blanketed in heavy snow as record-breaking blizzard brings Madrid to standstill

Telegraph, 10 Jan 2021
A persistent blizzard has blanketed large parts of Spain with 50-year record levels of snow, halting traffic and leaving thousands trapped in cars or in train stations and airports that suspended all services as the snow kept falling on Saturday.

The first official victims of Storm Filomena were a man and woman whose bodies were recovered by the Andalucia region emergency service after their car was washed away by a flooded river near the town of Fuengirola.

Ten provinces of central Spain were on their highest level of alert, including the capital, Madrid, where authorities activated the red warning for the first time and called in the military to rescue people from vehicles trapped on everything from small roads to the city's major thoroughfares.

Sandra Morena, who became trapped late on Friday as she commuted to her night shift as a security guard in a shopping center, arrived home, on foot, after an army emergency unit helped her out on Saturday morning.

"It usually takes me 15 minutes but this time it has been 12 hours freezing, without food or water, crying with other people because we didn't know how were we going to get out of there," said Morena, 22.

"Snow can be very beautiful but spending the night trapped in a car because of it is no fun," she added.

The State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) had warned that some regions would be receiving more than 24 hours of continuous snowfall due to the odd combination of a cold air mass stagnant over the Iberian Peninsula and the arrival of the warmer Storm Filomena from the south.

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