Beauty and the Beast – or how Filomena brought magic and disaster to Madrid.
Filomena 2021

Storm Filomena 2021

Although the heavy snow and the low temperatures had been announced, Madrid and Spain in general are not prepared for such hard weather conditions.
Between the 8th and 9th of January 2021 about 50cm of snow fell onto Madrid’s streets and temperatures plumed to almost 10 degrees below zero. It is said that it is the heaviest snowfall since 1971.

Filomena brought great joy to many Madrileños and especially to the children who enjoyed the snowball fights and not having to go to school for another week. Ski fans who were not allowed to leave Madrid to enjoy skiing in the mountains took out the skies,artists let their creativity flow building fabulous ice sculptures like a Menina, a Greek figure or a couple that is dancing. A creative priest built Jesus on the cross in front of his church.

One man was pictured being pulled on a sled by five huskies.… all very impressive and surprising.

The snow has allowed Madrid to forget Covid for a little while. Madrid was simply a romantic postcard.

However, the negative effects are tremendous:

  • the airport had to close
  • many people were stuck in their cars on the motorways, in shops or other places
  • 4 people died
  • transport was very affected which was a concern regarding the transportation of the Covid vaccines, the access to the hospitals or the guarantee of the food supply
  • people forgot for a while the masks while playing with the snow and busses and trains were too crowded to be able to maintain distances
  • cars and bikes were covered under the snow

But, what is really sad is how Filomena destroyed 10% of the city’s trees, especially in the so-called “lung” of Madrid, the Casa del Campo. Fallen and broken trees everywhere. 150,000 trees of the 800,000 planted across Madrid’s parks and streets have been damaged, not including the areas of forested parkland such as the Casa de Campo.

Now, a few days later, the consequences of the heavy snowfall are worse than expected: on one side the melting of the snow which is heavily flooding streets and places; on the other side the transportation problems which lead to a shortage of food and many important basic articles in the shops and accumulation of waste in the streets and, last but not least, the death of many birds as they cannot cope with the cold and the lack of food.
The citizens have therefore been called to place bird food on their terraces and balconies.

Below the bright snow hides a total disaster……there is a lot of work to do.

Who said that 2021 would be better? Hard times continue….

Ánimos Madrid!

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