Over the weekend Spain was hit by Storm Filomena, which blanketed the country with a snowfall that hadn’t been seen for decades.

People gathering in Madrid's Calle Alcalá to experience the snow
Madrid was blanketed over the weekend by its heaviest snowfall since the 1970s © Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

Most of the country was hit by the blizzard, but its heaviest effects were seen in the capital of Madrid – the city received around 25 to 50 centimetres of snow, something that hadn’t happened since the 1970s, according to Spanish newspapers.

A picture of the famous bear sculpture in Puerta del Sol covered by snow
Storm Filomena had its effects on most of Spain, but the blizzard was especially evident in Madrid © Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

Many Madrilenians stepped outside to experience this unprecedented event and can be seen throwing snowballs at each other in the famous Plaza Mayor square or skiing down the Gran Vía, normally one of the capital’s busiest streets.

People thrown snowballs at each other in Madrid's Plaza Mayor
Despite the cold temperatures, many people in Madrid gathered in the city's famous squares to throw snowballs at each other and play in the snow © Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

Of course, such extreme and unexpected weather caused damage and additional strain on the city, which continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. The country had been on alert since Thursday but the blizzard revealed to be much harsher than anticipated, with authorities reporting four deaths.

Snow Hits Madrid As Temperatures Plummet In Spain
La Cibeles sculpture is covered with snow during heavy snowfall © Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

Spanish authorities, including King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, encouraged everyone to remain inside since the cold weather is expected to continue well into this week. For now, Madrid remains virtually isolated since its roads have closed and its airport, Madrid-Barajas, remains partially closed. 

People move down Madrid's Gran Vía with skis
Cold temperatures are expected to continue throughout the rest of the week, so people might keep moving around Madrid with their skis © Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

If you’d like to remain informed on the situation, El País, one of Spain’s major newspapers, has set up a live update feed you can check out here or on their social media.

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