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A rare snowstorm bury Spain in the snow

A rare snowstorm bury Spain in the snow

An unusual and continuous snowstorm, described by the Mayor of Madrid as “the worst storm in 80 years,” blanketed large parts of Spain with snow, freezing traffic and leaving thousands trapped in cars or in train stations and airports that stopped all services due to the snowfall. It kept falling on Saturday. The capital and other parts of central Spain first activated a red weather alert, the highest, calling for the military to rescue people from vehicles trapped in everything from small roads to the city’s main roads, according to AP. The national weather agency AEMET has warned that some areas will receive more than 24 hours of continuous snowfall due to the strange combination of the stagnation of the cold air mass over the Iberian Peninsula and the arrival of the warm storm Philomena from the south. AEMET said that up to 8 inches of snow can accumulate in large parts of the country, but that the accumulation has reached more than 19 inches, even in urban areas.

More than 1,000 cars have been trapped, said Carlos Novello, head of Madrid’s emergency agency. “The situation is still … high risks. This is a very complex phenomenon and a critical situation,” Novello wrote on social media on Saturday morning. “We ask all who remain trapped to be patient and we will get to you.” Airport operator AENA said Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas International Airport, the main gateway in and out of the country, will remain closed throughout the day after the snow storm overtakes machinery and workers trying to keep the runways clear of snow. The rail operator Renfe said all trains to and from Madrid, as well as the south-northeastern railways, have been suspended. AEMET said the storm was expected to move northeast of the country throughout Saturday.

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(Read more Spain stories.)