Madrid Airport Reopens Partially After Storm Hits City

Madrid’s international airport is now ready to resume outbound operation after heavy snowfall covered the Spanish capital and much of the rest of the country prompting its closing, Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos said.

A full reopening is going to be “gradual” as airlines canceled almost all their flights and are now reorganizing their schedule, he said. The airport is expected to be ready to receive incoming flights in the next hours.

Spain’s biggest hub was closed Saturday and will kept its operation halted through Sunday. The snowfall also led to the suspension of high-speed and other train services to and from Madrid, which have been partially resuming their operation.

Madrid Airport Reopens Partially After Storm Hits City

Storm Filomena moved north from the Gulf of Cadiz, causing the biggest snowfall in decades in Madrid. While some extemporaneous skiers appeared in the streets of the city, its bus services have been suspended and a special military unit deployed, mainly to help trapped drivers.

The armed forces rescued some 1,500 vehicles that got stranded in the snow, according to local emergency services. They also worked to clear the airport runways and access to hospitals and to the city’s fresh food wholesale market, Spain’s largest.

The national government will evaluate all the “necessary mechanisms” to ensure the delivery and storage of the new coronavirus vaccine doses the country is set to receive on Monday, said Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska in a news conference late Saturday.

“Extremely Serious” Situation

Two people were found dead after their car was swept away by a river in the southern province of Malaga, according to an emailed statement from the Spanish Interior Ministry. Two more died in the Madrid region.

Schools and universities in the area will remain closed Monday and Tuesday, regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso said.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez urged residents on Twitter to avoid journeys and follow the instructions of emergency services.

“The situation is extremely serious. I’m in direct contact with all the security and emergency services. Stay at home,” Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said on Twitter.

Filomena has affected large swathes of the country, with hundreds of highways and roads cut off. A ferry with more than 60 people on board was rescued Friday in the southern archipelago of the Canary Islands after the storm made it run aground.

The cold snap has also pushed natural gas prices in Spain to a record high. The country is a key component of the global LNG market, accounting for Europe’s highest number of terminals for the fuel.

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