A persistent snowstorm has blanketed large parts of Spain with record levels of snowfall over 50 years, disrupting traffic and leaving thousands trapped in cars or at train stations and airports.
In Madrid, authorities have raised a red alert for the first time since the system was adopted four decades ago and called on the military to save people from trapped vehicles on everything from back roads to the city’s main arteries. .
The Spanish military was deployed on Saturday to help dozens of drivers stranded on highways outside Madrid after record-breaking snowfall all night.
The military emergency unit freed the trapped cars, vans and trucks, allowing the snowplows to try to clear the roads.
Madrid experienced its heaviest snowfall since 1971 on Friday after what the weather agency AEMET called “exceptional and possibly historic” conditions caused by storm Filomena.
The bodies of a man and a woman were recovered by emergency services in the Andalusia region after their car was washed away by a flooded river near the city of Fuengirola.
The Interior Ministry said a 54-year-old man was also found dead in Madrid under a large pile of snow. A homeless man died of hypothermia in the northern city of Zaragoza, local police reported.