Drivers in Madrid had to be rescued from their cars today after unprecedented heavy snowfall caused by Storm Filomena wreaked havoc across Spain, leaving thousands of drivers stranded.
The M-30 and M-40 motorways near to the Spanish capital were among 400 roads on which traffic was affected by the heavy snowfall.
The death toll as a result of Storm Filomena has risen to four people so far due to the extreme weather conditions.
Madrid city council called on citizens to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel as a result of the unusual blizzard.
Ten regions, including the Spanish capital, were placed on red alert earlier today, with more heavy snowfalls predicted.
Thousands of motorists were left trapped in their cars in the Spanish capital of Madrid because of unprecedented snowfall
The Spanish Unit for Military Emergencies deployed 147 soldiers to help rescue drivers who had been left stranded because of the snow
The M-30 and M-40 motorways near to the Spanish capital were among 400 roads affected by the heavy snow
Madrid city council called on citizens to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel as a result of the unusual blizzard
Emergency services worked through the night to help rescue stranded motorists, with heavy snowfall caused by Storm Filomena leaving cars and lorries alike stuck on Spanish motorways
Speaking to Spanish television RNE from her car, one woman said: ‘I drove to see my husband in hospital and have been stuck here for three hours. It’s a journey which should take 15 minutes.’
The Spanish Unit for Military Emergencies, which deployed 147 soldiers to help stranded drivers, tweeted to say: ‘We continue the rescue of vehicles on the A4, A5, M40 and M607.’
Emergency services said around 1,000 trapped motorists had been reached by the early hours of this morning.
Carlos Novillo, director of Madrid Emergencies, described the situation as critical but added: ‘We’re still working on reaching cars trapped on the M40 and M506 motorways.
Emergency services said around 1,000 trapped motorists had been reached by the early hours of this morning
Carlos Novillo, director of Madrid Emergencies, described the situation as critical but that emergency services were still working to rescue people on the A4, A5, M40 and M607
Ten regions, including the Spanish capital, were placed on red alert earlier today, with more heavy snowfalls predicted
Airport staff at Madrid’s Barajas Airport play in the snow after flights were suspended because of the heavy snowfall that swept across the Spanish capital
The heavy snowfall caused by Storm Filomena completely covers this parked plane at Madrid’s Barajas Airport, which has suspended all flights
‘We’re going to reach everyone and help them get to safety.’
Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos added: ‘We are in the grip of an historic storm and obviously it’s had a huge knock-on effect on transport.’
On the A4 in Madrid, the Red Cross set out to deliver food packages to lorry drivers who were also trapped in their vehicles because of the snow.
So far Storm Filomena has claimed the lives of four people, with a 54-year-old man having been found dead lifeless inside his car after it was buried in snow in Zarzalejo north-west of the Spanish capital.
Unconfirmed local reports said he could have suffered a heart attack and been unable to raise help.
At least four people have lost their lives today as a result of Storm Filomena, including a 54-year-old man having been found dead lifeless inside his car after it was buried in snow in Zarzalejo north-west of the Spanish capital
A woman skies past a bus stuck in the street amid heavy snowfall in Madrid today. All bus routes in the Spanish capital have been suspended because of the extreme weather
People clamber over fallen trees and installed Christmas decorations which have broken under the weight of the record snowfall in Madrid
With such high snowfall a rarity in Spain, people took to the streets to enjoy the snow. This group of neighbours sit around a table in the middle of a street in Bustarvejo, on the outskirts of Madrid
The second fatality was a homeless man in the Madrid neighbourhood of Carabanchel believed to have died from hypothermia.
News of the two deaths were confirmed as police said the couple who drowned in Mijas were a 56-year-old Colombian woman and a 46-year-old Spanish man.
Another couple in the vehicle with them, which was by the Fuengirola River when it was swept away just before midnight last night/on Friday after a day of torrential rain, managed to save their lives.
Footage emerged today/yesterday (SAT) of the Spanish man being swept away after an unsuccessful attempt by Good Samaritans and emergency responders to throw him a ring buoy with a rope attached to it.
As the man appeared in the footage and began to be swept downriver while he waved his arms in the air and onlookers threw the ring buoy to him to try to grab, she added: ‘Here he goes, this is horrible, this is horrible. Get it, get the police.’
Barely visible: This aerial shot captures the extent of the snowfall in Madrid, with two lines of cars on either side of a road almost completely invisible beneath the blanket of snow
A member of the Civil Protection unit walks down a snow-blanketed street following dramatic snowfall in the Spanish capital of Madrid
With people in Madrid taking to the streets to enjoy the unusually heavy snowfall, this parent was spotted dragging their child along a snow-covered road on a sled
The snow has been falling so hard around Madrid that it now sits in mounds almost half the height of a car
The unnamed Colombian woman’s body was found inside the black Citroen the four occupants had been travelling in.
A Civil Guard spokesman confirmed: ‘The man’s body was found about 300 metres from the vehicle by expert police divers around 10.20am this morning/yesterday morning.’
Meteorologists had predicted Friday’s snowfall to reach around 20cm with temperatures hovering around freezing.
Madrid’s mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almedia has predicted that the Spanish capital would not be back to normal until the ned of next week.
He also confirmed that the snowfall in Madrid was the heaviest since at least 1971.
With flights out of Madrid’s Barajas Airport, people have been left lying on the floor waiting on news about their flights
Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos added: ‘We are in the grip of an historic storm and obviously it’s had a huge knock-on effect on transport’
Madrid also closed Barajas Airport on Friday night as a result of the chaotic weather which made flying impossible
Meteorologists had predicted Friday’s snowfall to reach around 20cm with temperatures hovering around freezing
It wasn’t just cars trying to traverse the snowy roads in Spain, this line of cars and nearly entirely covered in a thick blanket of snow
Madrid also closed Barajas Airport on Friday night as a result of the chaotic weather which made flying impossible.
At least 50 flights to Madrid, Malaga, Tenerife and Cueta were cancelled as a result of the airport shutdown.
Aena, who controls all of Spain’s airports, tweeted: ‘Owing to the forecast of snow and for security, Madrid Barajas airport will remain closed throughout Saturday’.
The airport’s closure came after the Real Madrid team were left trapped on a runway for four hours last night before being given a go-ahead to take off.
Despite the chaos for drivers, some people in the Spanish capital took the rare opportunity to enjoy the snowfall
Skiers were seen gliding through the Puerta del Sol plaza in central Madrid, while one man was spotted making his way through the capital with his sled dogs
Car salesman Javier Talanco (pictured) took his five huskies out for a spin in surreal scenes after historic snowfall left the city looking more like Reykjavik
On top of the airport closure, Madrid city council confirmed that all bus services in the capital had been suspended
A bulldozer works its way along a road in Madrid, pushing snow out of the way in an attempt to clear the road
Madrid city council said that in addition to Madrid’s airport closure, all high-speed rail services between the capital and the southeastern cities of Alicante and Valencia had been suspended.
A record temperature of -35.6 degrees C was recorded at Vega de Lourdes in Leon, northern Spain, the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) said.
Bus services within Madrid have also been halted for now and schools and universities in the city will be closed on Monday and Tuesday due to an expected cold-snap which will see temperatures plummet to -10 degrees C.
Despite the chaos for drivers, some people in the Spanish capital took the rare opportunity to enjoy the snowfall.
High-speed train services to southeastern cities such as Alicante and Valencia had been stopped because of the snow
Workers in Madrid work to plow some of the snow near a metro entrance earlier today following heavy snowfall caused by Storm Filomena
A few brave people decided to head out into the city and battle against the heavy snowfall
Huge areas of Spain, including Madrid, have been left blanketed in a thick layer of snow after Storm Filomena wrought havoc overnight
A puppy plays in the thick snow in Madrid earlier this morning after the Spanish capital was set upon by Storm Filomena
A woman wrapped up in warm clothing braves the heavy snowfall as she walks through a street in Madrid this morning
Skiers were seen gliding through the Puerta del Sol plaza in central Madrid, while one man was spotted making his way through the capital with his sled dogs.
Car salesman Javier Talanco took his five huskies out for a spin in surreal scenes after historic snowfall left the city looking more like Reykjavik.
Javier, who practices the dog-powered sport of mushing but normally in the mountains, treated the children of neighbours to rides on his sled after the heaviest snowfall in Madrid in at least 50 years.
He said afterwards: ‘They have snow in their blood and as soon as they saw it out of the window, they started getting nervous and wouldn’t stop playing.’