Spain: Madrid turns white as heavy snowfall hits city
Storm Filomena has wreaked havoc across Spain, unleashing never-before-seen snow in the capital city of Madrid. The extreme snowfall will submerge the Spanish capital in more than 20cm of snow within the next 24 hours. The freak weather event has already plunged half of the country into red alert status, as authorities urge people to avoid non-essential travel.
Earlier this week, a record-breaking temperature of -35.8C was registered on Thursday in the northwestern province of Leon – the coldest temperature the country has ever recorded.
BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt said: “You are unlikely to have ever seen a picture of Madrid like this. It is the first snowfall in 10 years.
“The city has been placed on red alert with more snow forecast.
“I remember yesterday that temperatures were expected to reach -36C in Spain, it is seeing some really cold temperatures.”
JUST IN: BBC Weather: Storm Filomena to bombard Europe with 40cm of snow
BBC meteorologist Helen Willets added: “This is a one in 30 year event.
“They haven’t seen snowfall in that amount since the 1970s. That is due to the Storm Filomena.
“We also had a month’s worth of rain in just two days in Gibraltar.
“It is going to spread to Italy and Balkans, with very significant snow to come for the Balkans.
Storm Filomena: Europe set for ‘disruptive’ weather
“Madrid will face 20cm of more snow today. It is almost unheard of weather.”
The Spanish weather agency, AEMET says the snow buildup could reach up to 50 centimeters in mountainous areas.
AEMET said the snowfall was “exceptional and most likely historic”.
It warned that the situation was expected to get worse in the coming hours, with the storm heading towards the Mediterranean into next week.
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The army has been brought in to aid trapped drivers in and around the Spanish capital.
The chaos led to serious disruptions by mid-Friday on about 270 roads, and canceled or delayed more than 40 flights.
Madrid’s Barajas Airport announced on Saturday morning it had suspended all activity with more snowy weather predicted.
The announcement came as Real Madrid’s players and coaching staff were trapped on the runway inside a plane for nearly four hours on Friday night..
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