Cold and ice threaten to prolong Filomena’s chaos

Historical. That is the word that those who have suffered (or, for the moment, enjoyed) the consequences of Filomena they do not stop pronouncing. Snow was expected, lots of snow; but nobody imagined that it would fall so hard and for so long. According, we would have to go back to 1963 to see something like: more than 50 centimeters of snow accumulated in Madrid capital after falling during more than 30 hours in a row.

Ayuso, at a press conference this January 10.

And the Madrid’s community it is not the only one affected. Filomena left snow on Friday and Saturday in several provinces of Castile and Leon, Castilla la Mancha, Murcia and the Valencian Community, just as he did yesterday for the northeast of the peninsula: Aragon, Navarre and Catalonia. The rain was the main protagonist, especially in Andalusia, where it caused severe flooding.

On Thursday the forecast was already bad. The Aemet activated the orange alert for snow

The “lack of foresight” is what many of the people who stayed ‘tossed’ on the roads, service roads and even shopping centers criticized. However, the meteorologists had been warning. On Thursday the forecast was already bad. The State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) activated the orange alert for snowfalls, especially in the southern area of ​​the Community of Madrid and part of Castilla-La Mancha, as well as for rains in almost all of Andalusia.

The snow began to leave very winter marks, but also to affect several secondary roads. But, the worst of the day came because of the cold: the first victim in Calatayud (Zaragoza), where a man died at -6.5 ºC.

Already on Friday, the snow began to fall with an intensity that did not stop in 30 hours

Already on Friday, the interior of the peninsula dawned in “Red alert” and the snow began to fall with intensity in the morning. An intensity that did not cease until the next day. For more than 30 hours straight, the flakes fell dragged by the strong wind on the monuments and buildings, leaving stamps typical of a Christmas postcard that citizens could not stop photographing. But also numerous incidents by falling trees; cars, buses and trucks stuck on the roads; impassable sidewalks (if you didn’t have snowshoes or skis at home); train stations and airport closed, and electricity and heating cuts, especially yesterday in the northeast of the country.

For all this, the death toll increased to five adding another four: two men in the Community of Madrid, one buried by snow in Zarzalejo and another who appeared yesterday in the middle of the street; and a man and a woman in Mijas (Málaga) when their car was dragged by the water of the Fuengirola river. More could have been if more than 1,500 who were trapped in their cars since Friday the access roads to the Madrid capital had not been rescued on Saturday afternoon.

The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, affirmed that on Sunday there was no longer “nobody” thanks to the help of 147 soldiers and 66 vehicles from the UME, whose work focused on the A-4, A-5 and M-40 with M-607, tracks from which they also had to evacuate cars abandoned there after being obstructed by snow.

The asphalt of the main streets of the center of the Madrid capital began to be visualized during the afternoon of Saturday

The objective was that the snow plows could clear the tracks in anticipation of extreme temperatures down to -12 degrees in the next few hours, which will help the formation of ice sheets very dangerous. Thanks to them, the asphalt of the main streets in the center of the Madrid capital (Gran Vía, Alcalá, Castellana …) began to be seen on Saturday afternoon, as well as that of the entrance to hospitals, one of the priority areas.

Map of clean streets in Madrid.

In these health centers many workers had to double shifts due to lack of staff due to others not being able to arrive. In total, some 60 snowplows from the municipal cleaning service were distributed “throughout” Madrid, according to its mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, who also pointed out that the accumulation of snow registered in most of the city doubled or tripled forecasts by reach 40-50 centimeters on average, with peaks of 60 cm.

As a preventive measure, the Community of Madrid ordered the closing of schools, institutes and universities at least during Monday and Tuesday, and the civil servants will continue teleworking except those whose presence is essential. Also, by not being able to circulate since Friday afternoon the EMT buses, the regional government decided that the Metro would operate – except in some affected sections – for 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Because not everything is snow, also thousands of fallen trees that obstruct streets and will have to be removed.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso has asked for citizen help to remove snow from the streets

Low visibility and the accumulation of centimeters also caused chaos at the airport Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas, which suspended its operations from 9:30 pm on Friday until Sunday afternoon, when they began in a “very gradual” manner, said Transport Minister José Luis Ábalos. As well Renfe canceled its services to and from Madrid, a measure that affected the service of the AVE, long and medium distance trains, as well as the commuter service of the capital.

In much of Spain, the alert will continue for much of the week, now due to cold, and there is still a lot of snow to be removed and little time left. Therefore, Díaz Ayuso asked for citizen help: it is better to do it before it freezes more and the streets become, then yes, real skating rinks. Both Ayuso and Martínez Almeida assure that normality for private vehicles in the capital would not arrive at least “until the end of this week.”

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