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Spanish snowstorm: The country is paralyzed, sending vaccines, food convoys

In the Madrid area, rescuers reached 1,500 trapped in cars as police halted a major snowball fight after authorities urged citizens to stay home due to the risk of accidents or the spread of coronavirus.

Weather forecasters warned of dangerous conditions in the coming days, with temperatures expected to drop to minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) next week and the prospect of snow turning to ice and falling damaged trees.

In Madrid, police cordoned off buildings with heavy loads of snow on the roof in case of accidents, but residents took to the streets in crowds to enjoy the rare view of their white-covered city.

Military members walk in the snow in central Madrid, Spain, on Sunday, January 1[ads1]0.
The statue of King Philip III of Spain, created in 1616 by Jean Boulogne and Pietro Taca, was covered in snow in Plaza Mayor amid heavy snowfall in Madrid on January 9, 2021.

About 100 workers and shoppers spent two nights sleeping in a shopping mall in Majadahonda, a city north of Madrid, after being trapped by a blizzard on Friday.

“There are people sleeping on the ground on cardboard,” Ivan Alkala, a restaurant worker, told TVE.

Madrid International Airport suspended flights until Sunday night.

Children play in the snow during the heavy snowfall of Philomena in Almazan, Spain.
People enjoy the snow in front of the Royal Palace in Madrid on January 9, 2021.

About 20,000km of roads in central Spain have been hit by the storm and the government will send convoys carrying the vaccine and food supplies to those in need, Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos said on Saturday.

A man and a woman in a car drowned after a river erupted near Malaga to the south, while two homeless people froze to death in Madrid and Calatayud in the east, officials said.

The State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) reported that up to 20-30 cm (7-8 inches) of snow had fallen in Madrid on Saturday, the most since 1971.

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