SPAIN has been rocked by shocking temperatures of -25C as a deep freeze sets in after the weekend's deadly snowstorms.
The icy drifts left by Storm Filomena have turned streets into safety hazards in areas completely unaccustomed to extreme weather.
At least seven people have now died during the freakish cold snap, after two homeless people in Barcelona joined the death toll.
Temperatures plunged to -25C (-13F) in Molina de Aragón – known as the "Spanish Siberia" -which is located in mountains east of Madrid.
Overnight temperatures were the coldest since at least 2001 and dropped in some places to the lowest since 1982, revealed the national weather agency AEMET.
Schools remained closed in Madrid and much of central Spain, and 11 of the country's 51 provinces and autonomous regions were at the highest weather alert level.
In the capital and the surrounding region, home to 6.6m people, thermometers plummeted to a chilling -16C (3.2 F).
Military crews worked round-the-clock to reopen roads, reestablish power lines and to ensure the distribution of food and coronavirus vaccines.
Authorities urged people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary to prevent accidents that could further strain hospital emergency rooms.
Medical sources told El Mundothat there were 1,200 fracture cases on Monday in the Madrid region's hospitals, caused by accidents on the ice – an average of 50 an hour.
Visiting the operation center of a military emergency unit, Spanish PM Spanish Pedro Sanchez thanked civil protection crews and soldiers.
"We have had to live difficult and complex times, but we will move forward because the Spanish society does not give up in the face of adversity," he said in televised comments.
Storm Filomena left up to half a meter (20 inches) of snow across large swaths of Spain over a 30-hour period that started Friday morning.
Multiple people, including the two homeless people in Barcelona, died as a result of the blizzard and the ensuing cold snap, the government reported.
The Madrid regional government said it was still waiting for a new batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses that had been due to arrive on Monday before by plane but had to be diverted because of the weather.
The regional health department told The Associated Press that the delay was not expected to affect the local vaccine drive, which continued at nursing homes and among health personnel with doses delivered earlier.
The capital's airport, the busiest in the country, was expected to get back to full operation on by later today.
Trains were steadily increasing in frequency, although Madrid's subway and commuter trains were dangerously overcrowded.
In a preliminary assessment, Madrid City Hall estimated that at least 150,000 of the citys 800,000 trees fell from the weight of unfamiliar snow.
Its main retail market reopened today for the first time since Friday, leading to frantic activity of trucks and vans delivering the fresh produce that had been in short supply at supermarkets.
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