Villages isolated in the province of León as power cuts affect residents in rural areas

The cold front which swept across the Iberian Peninsula over the weekend brought severe disruption to road traffic in the north of Spain, leaving villages on higher ground isolated as snow drifted to depths of well over a metre in rural areas.

So serious were the conditions that 110 members of the Military Emergencies Unit were dispatched to Villablino and other towns and villages in the Laciana valley in the north-west of the province of León to help clear roads and streets, making use of snow ploughs and various other items of heavy-duty machinery. They began the operation with a total of 43 vehicles on Saturday morning after heavy snowfalls during Thursday and Friday, when red alert warnings were issued by the State meteorological agency Aemet, and also delivered generators to ensure that electricity was available for residents unable to leave their homes.

As well as the electricity supply the telephone and mobile networks were also affected in the municipalities of La Robla, Vegacervera, La Pola de Gordón, Villamanín, Cármenes and Matallana del Torío as well as Villablino, and at one point Iberdrola reported that as many as 7,000 households were without electricity due to ice accumulating on cables and breaking them and to fallen trees.

Aemet forecast that the snow in the north and north-west of Spain will die out during Monday, but temperatures remain very low and in the city of León on Monday and Tuesday the minimums are expected to fall well below zero.