Snowstorm Strikes Spain, Forcing Road Closures, Suspension of Flights, Train Services

Spain has activated the red weather alert for the first time Saturday as heavy snowfalls have hit large parts of the country, including the capital, since Thursday. Besides Madrid, which recorded the heaviest snowfalls since 1971, the regions of Aragon, Valencia, Castilla La Mancha and Catalonia also were hard-hit by the snowstorms.The unusual blizzard blocked traffic and left thousands of people trapped in cars or in train stations and airports, since they suspended all services as the snowfalls continued Saturday.The storm made driving difficult or caused the closure of over 430 roads by Saturday morning, according to Spain’s transit authorities, which advised people to stay indoors and avoid all nonessential travel.Authorities have mobilized the military to rescue people stranded in their vehicles and  trapped everywhere from small roads to major arteries.The national AEMET weather agency has said the snow would continue until Sunday, as the temperatures remain very low, before Storm Filomena begins moving northeast.According to AEMET’s weather forecast, 20 centimeters of snow was anticipated in large parts of the country, but the accumulation reached more than 50 centimeters even in urban areas.

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