Spain declares ‘disaster zones’ in aftermath of Storm Filomena

Spain’s government on Tuesday classified Madrid and other regions struck by Storm Filomena as disaster zones.

Spain declares 'disaster zones' in aftermath of Storm Filomena
Photos: AFP

The measure, that was approved in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, will trigger emergency subsidies and extra support measures to repair damage from record snowfall and low temperatures in Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Asturias, Andalusia, Aragón, La Rioja and Navarre.

The details of the aid package have not yet been decided, but the needs of each region will be assessed and help distributed by relevant ministries.

The storm brought the heaviest snowfall in half a century, blocking roads and train lines, felling trees and causing massive snowdrifts which transformed into ice blocks when a big freeze hit.

Madrid City Hall estimates the damage caused runs up to at least €1.4 billion ($1.70 billion) in the Spanish capital alone.

On Tuesday, ten days after the storm, the city had yet to clear snow and ice from an estimated 43 percent of roads.

It has closed its parks including Retiro and Casa de Campo to clear the damaged trees and warned they may not reopen for two months.

Across the capital maintenance teams have been working to clear drains, tunnels and sewers of debris caused by Storm Filomena to reduce flooding risk ahead of torrential rain forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.


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Norway to get a taste of summer with 20C days this week

Summer is finally here! Or least it is if you live in southern Norway, where a warm front coming up from Europe will bring t-shirt temperatures of 20C by Thursday, according to forecasts.

Norway to get a taste of summer with 20C days this week

Warm air from southern Europe will combine with a high pressure zone which will bring clear skies and sunshine, with summery weather coming towards the end of the week, Norway’s national weather forecaster Yr has reported. 

“Thursday and Friday especially will be nice,” Ingrid Villa, a meteorologist at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, told the public broadcaster NRK. “Then we will probably get temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius in some places.” 

Patches of 20C warmth are expected both in western Norway around Bergen and in Western Norway around Oslo, with the area around Tromsø expected to have slightly cooler weather, although Villa said that “it will absolutely be something like summer there too”. 

The warm sunny weather is, however, expected to pass northern Norway by, with grey overcast skies expected for much of this week. 

But if you think summer has come to Norway to stay, you risk disappointment as much cooler temperatures are expected next week.  

“There’s nothing unusual in getting an early taste of summer in April and the start of May, and then we can quickly go back to cooler more spring-like weather,” Villa said.