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Spain braces for the worst as snowstorm rages on

Credit: Belga

Spain braced for an additional 20 centimetres of snow on Saturday after Friday’s snowstorm that closed Madrid Airport, left hundreds of drivers stranded and paralysed the country.

Spain’s worst snow storm in 50 years continued overnight and five central regions had to be placed on red alert on Saturday morning. These include Madrid Region, where the public bus service has been suspended, as has garbage collection.

Barajas International Airport, shut down since Friday evening, will remain closed for “safety reasons” throughout Saturday.

On Friday, about 30 flights had already been cancelled and almost as many were forced to land at other airports. “Today was tough, but tomorrow will be even tougher,” Mayor José Luis Martinez-Almeida tweeted in a video posted just before midnight. “The Madrid Mayor’s Office will work assiduously, but we need you to stay at home tomorrow.”

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The snow disrupted traffic on nearly 400 roads, according to the Spanish transport authority. The Safety and Emergency Agency’s office reported “working through the night to assist” blocked drivers. It said it had “freed 1,000 vehicles” and asked the others to “remain patient.”

The Spanish capital, which had not been covered by such a blanket of snow since 1971, had skiers as far as the famous Puerta del Sol square, and even a man drawn by five dogs on a sled.

Other than Madrid, the regions worst affected by the storm have been Aragon, Valencia, Castilla-La Mancha and Catalonia.

The AEMET meteorological service predicted that another 20 centimetres of snow would fall on Saturday in Madrid and on the country’s central plateau, while up to 50 centimetres could fall in some higher-altitude areas

The Brussels Times

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