In Spain, the Philomène storm leaves a frozen memory

From our correspondent. This Tuesday morning, the streets of Madrid became a huge outdoor ice skating rink. After the blizzard at the weekend, the capital experienced a historic frost. The red alert went off in 11 provinces throughout the country, including the Community of Madrid.

In the capital, temperatures dropped overnight to -14.2 degrees, a record for the past 50 years.

The most intense frosts in recent years

If the snow on most of the major highways was cleared Tuesday morning, the rest of the streets are still impassable and travel is limited. The streets are still extremely slippery: the rest of the snow has turned to ice. Siberian temperatures complicate the job of city officials. On each sidewalk, the landscape is the same: blocks of ice and tree branches cover the ground.

With more than half a meter of snow falling over the weekend in a matter of hours, the regional environmental administration said some 150,000 trees on city streets were felled by the storm. . The usually bustling capital lives in slow motion. To avoid the ice patches, pedestrians walk slowly, but there are still many falls.

On the morning of this Monday, a spokesman for the Gregorio-Marañón Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Madrid, told the Efe news agency that of the 130 patients admitted to the emergency room that morning, 85 came to fall for having caused, most of the time, fractures.

An isolated capital for several days

This weekend, the capital was isolated from the rest of the country. But the work of the Military Emergencies Unit (UME) made it possible to remove the snow from two of the four runways at Madrid Barajas airport. Recovery is gradual: on Monday night, the airport almost returned to normal, despite the fact that some flights were still postponed or canceled. The high-speed rail link between Madrid and Barcelona has also been reopened.

But the road network remains blocked: of the 598 affected roads, 116 were still cut off due to snow and ice, three days after the storm hit. And in the capital, mobility remains difficult: only 28 of the 200 bus lines were operational, although the commuter train connection has been reestablished.

To avoid travel, on Monday night, the region suspended face-to-face classes in schools, colleges, colleges and universities until January 18. If the situation gradually calms down, the capital remains calm: car traffic is almost non-existent and only a few police cars or ambulances cope with the cold and the roads of the city center.

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