Snow, hurricane force winds as winter storm batters Spain

Madrid, Jan 17 (EFE).- Almost all of Spain was on alert Tuesday for adverse weather conditions caused by the first powerful winter storm of the year, which has brought heavy snow, floods and hurricane-force winds.

The state meteorological service Aemet issued yellow and orange alerts for most of the country, with warnings of heavy snow across the mountainous north and strong winds elsewhere, while a rare maximum red alert was issued off the northwest coast, where the swell could reach heights of 10 meters (29.5 feet).

In the Basque Country, one of the worst affected areas by storm Fien, emergency services said an 80-year-old man had been found dead hours after he was reported missing by his family as the storm hit the region.

Strong winds forced the closure of public parks in the capital Madrid and in Barcelona, in the northeast.

In the northern town of Begonte, four local families had to be rescued by inflatable life rafts after becoming trapped by the rising river running through the area.

Transport was also affected by the winter storm with roads temporarily cut off by snow, floodwater and fallen trees in places.

Several thousand schoolchildren in higher altitude regions of northern Spain had classes canceled due to the wintry weather.

Weather warnings will remain in place through Thursday although diminish in severity. EFE


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