Storm Filomena: Spain turns into a winter wonderland as heavy snow falls

But the weather also creates travel chaos as troops are sent to help motorists

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Sun and sand go hand in hand in Spain, so to see parts of the European nation transformed into a winter wonderland created quite a spectacle for residents – but also problems.

Troops rescued drivers trapped in their vehicles on Saturday as heavy snowfall from Storm Filomena caused travel chaos across Spain.

"Owing to the forecast of snow and for security, Madrid Barajas airport will remain closed throughout Saturday," Aena, which controls the country's airports, said on Twitter.

The airport was closed on Friday night owing to the blizzard.

At least 50 flights to places such as Malaga, Tenerife and Ceuta, a Spanish territory in north Africa, were cancelled, Aena said.

Soldiers worked to reach drivers stranded for hours on roads around Madrid.

"We continue the rescue of vehicles on the A4, A5, M40 and M607," said the Unit for Military Emergencies, which sent 147 soldiers to help motorists.

High-speed rail services between Madrid and the south-eastern cities of Alicante and Valencia were suspended, as were bus services in Madrid, the city council said on Saturday.

Madrid and four other regions were on red alert on Saturday as more heavy snowfall was forecast, the state meteorological agency said.

Madrid city council called on people to stay at home.