Storm Filomena: Spain blanketed in rare snow as two rough sleepers freeze to death

Skiers took to Cibeles Square in Madrid today after a downpour of snow (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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A storm in Spain has killed four people, paralysed travel and blanketed Spain's capital Madrid in so much snow skiers took to the city centre.

Forecasters warned of more havoc next week after Storm Filomena brought the heaviest snowfall in decades across central Spain.

In the Madrid area, rescuers reached 1,500 people trapped in cars, while on the usually traffic-clogged Gran Via, residents snowboarded and pelted each other with snowballs as well as ski.

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

A 54-year-old man was found dead lifeless inside his car after it was buried in snow in Zarzalejo, a village in the Madrid area.

Spain has recorded its heaviest snowfall in decades
(Image: Mariscal/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

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Unconfirmed local reports said he could have suffered a heart attack and been unable to raise help.

The second fatality was a homeless man in the Madrid neighbourhood of Carabanchel believed to have died from hypothermia.

The couple who drowned in Mijas, Malaga, were a 56-year-old Colombian woman and a 46-year-old Spanish man.

Friends enjoying a drink in Callao Street, Madrid
(Image: Rodrigo Jimenez/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Rescue workers saved 1,500 people trapped in their cars in the Madrid area
(Image: REUTERS)

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Another couple in the vehicle with them, which was by the Fuengirola River when it was swept away just before midnight last night after a day of torrential rain, managed to escape.

The tragedy occurred as the two couples were returning from a religious service at a church in the area and had stopped their car by the river when they were surprised by the flood water.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted: "I want to reiterate the government's call for maximum caution in the face of the evolution of the weather in the next few hours."

Temperatures are expected to plunge to -10C next week
(Image: Europa Press via Getty Images)

Between 20 and 30cm of snow has fallen in Madrid
(Image: Ballesteros/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

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Julian Morcillo, of the State Metereological Agency (Aemet), said temperatures would plunge to -10C next week, bringing dangerous ice.

Between 20-30 cm of snow fell in Madrid, making it the heaviest there since 1971, he added.

The capital's Barajas airport was shut from Friday night, while nationwide, more than 650 roads were blocked.

The extreme weather has closed roads and disrupted transport across the country
(Image: Diego Radames/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock)

Rubbish collection and bus services in Madrid have been cancelled
(Image: Diego Radames/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock)

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Real Madrid’s players being trapped for nearly four hours on the runway inside their plane at Barajas airport today.

They finally took off for Pamplona where they were due to play Osasuna late today – three and half hours after their scheduled 7.30pm departure.

Municipal rubbish collection and bus services in Madrid have also been cancelled.

Five provinces including Teruel and Zaragoza remained on red alert this afternoon.

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