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Deadly snowstorms in Spain

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People walk in Madrid, Spain amid a heavy snowfall on January 9. AFP

MADRID, (AFP) – Snowstorms in Spain left three people dead and caused chaos across much of the country, trapping motorists and shutting down the capital’s air and rail links, with more expected.

On Friday, Madrid experienced its heaviest snowfalls since 1971 in what the AEMET weather agency described as “exceptional and most likely historic” conditions caused by Storm Filomena.

Following a chaotic 36 hours, the snowfall began moving off towards the northeast from central Spain late Saturday.

“Even if, despite the extremely difficult weather conditions, the number of incidents is relatively limited, we have three deaths to mourn,” Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said.

One man was found dead under a snowdrift in Zarzalejo, northwest of Madrid, while two others died trying to cross a swollen river in Mijas, near Mediterranean city Malaga.

Motorist Patricia Manzanares had earlier told national television how she had been stranded without food for 15 hours on the M-40 motorway in the Madrid region.

“I’ve been here since seven o’clock last night, there are a lot of us in this situation. There are 60 centimetres of snow and we are soon going to run out of petrol” and thus lose the car heating, she said.

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