Madrid collapses due to Storm Filomena

Barajas stops operating, trains to and from Madrid are suspended, and schools are closed

Madrid is experiencing historic and complicated day due to the  Filomena storm , which has caused havoc in the Spanish capital since Friday evening. The snowfall has left hundreds of vehicles trapped on roads, Barajas airport has paralyzed all operations throughout this Saturday and trains to and from Madrid have been suspended, both medium and long distance. Therefore, the AVE Barcelona-Madrid train is not working. In addition, a crisis committee has been set up to ensure that urgent healthcare is guaranteed.

Airport manager Aena has announced the suspension of flights for security reasons on Twitter. In the message, Aena asks travellers not to go to the airport. Operations in Barajas were suspended yesterday at last minute due to the snow that fell on the facilities because of the storm, which forced to divert landings to other airports like Valencia and Alicante due to the bad conditions in the runways and poor visibility.

The roads outside the Spanish capital began to turn white this Friday evening and some drivers have been trapped overnight. Snow is expected to continue to fall throughout the day and the rescue of all these users will be delayed. The director of the Safety and Emergency Agency of the Community of Madrid, Carlos Novillo, has assured the media that a thousand vehicles have been freed and has asked for "patience" from the drivers who are still trapped. Some 500 are still waiting in the snow, according to the Minister of Home Affairs, Enrique López.

The Madrid authorities have asked the army for help with road works and have redoubled their efforts so as to not jeopardise urgent healthcare. The regional government has reported the creation of a crisis committee. Emergency coordination centres have been reinforced with more personnel, and the Guardia Civil (the Spanish police force) has been asked to help since Friday evening.

López admitted that work is still being done with the town councils to guarantee access to all public hospitals and some professionals have been asked to double their shifts due to the difficulty of doing relays. A new bed has been provided for patients who were due to be discharged and blankets have been given to relatives who have had to spend the night in the centres.

Schools closed on Monday and Tuesday

The collapse also affects the education sector. The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, announced this midday that classes are suspended until Wednesday. Schools, institutes, training centres and universities will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. In addition, government officials will work from home, except in cases where their presence is essential.

Beyond the complications, the snowfall has also left a friendly face for the inhabitants of the Spanish capital, who have gone out to play with the snow and contemplate a landscape that is difficult to see again. The snowfall has caused the Gran Vía, normally full of cars, to be occupied only by people, and the sidewalk cannot be differentiated from the road. This people could be seen walking around with ski poles. Ayuso, however, has stated in an interview with the Cadena Cope radio station that people should stay home because trees can fall and it is dangerous.