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After the morning started grey and rainy, by lunchtime, the rain had become snow and gradually it started to settle.
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Tapas bar goes white
As the snow settled, places that are more used to being basked in Mediterranean sunshine turned white.
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The snow starts to fall in earnest
By four o'clock, the snowflakes falling on Barcelona were getting bigger and bigger. Shortly after, the public bus service ground to a halt as the roads became more dangerous to drive along, especially for a city not used to such weather.
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Ajuntament de Lloret de Mar
Snow on the Costa Brava
Outside Barcelona, much of Catalunya was also affected by unusual snowfall, including the beach of the Costa Brava town of Lloret de Mar.
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La Caixa and the Diagonal under snow
Traffic ground to a standstill on many of Barcelona's major roads, including Avinguda Diagonal, seen here from the top of one of the city's most emblematic office buildings, La Caixa
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A snowy street
A couple take cover from the snow under an umbrella on a Barcelona street turning white
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Walking through the slush
By the time the sun went down, the snow had stopped falling falling in Barcelona and was starting to turn slushy.
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Children's playground in the snow
For many of the children who usually play in this little park, the snow of March 8th would have been the first time they'd seen it fall in their home city.
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Barcelona square in the snow
The Església Maria de Déu del Remei in the Les Corts neighbourhood with snow covering the Plaça Concòrdia in front of the church.
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These snow-covered wintry trees are not a common sight in Barcelona, but suddenly, the city was full of them.
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Motos under the snow
Normally seen whizzing through the city traffic, for one day only, many of the mopeds of Barcelona were covered in snow.
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Snowing signThis photo shows the snow covering a sign near Barceloneta beach.
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Mammoth snowfallA resident of Ciutadella park covered in the snow.
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Beach walkThis shot shows that people braved the unseasonal conditions to walk by the beach.
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Braving the elementsA lone walker on Barceloneta beach wraps up against the weather.
Expectations are high this morning that Alicia Gámez, one of three Catalan charity workers kidnapped last November in Mauritania, could soon be released (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has said he’s confident that in “a short time” good news will be received about the fate of Gámez, the only female in the group that was taken on November 29th by a band linking themselves to Al-Qaeda. It is thought that Gámez will be released with the Italian Philomene Kabourée, who was also kidnapped, along with her husband Sergio Cicala, by local terrorists. Negotiations have been ongoing to secure the release of all the hostages, talks in which representatives from Burkina Faso are said to have played a key role, because Kabourée was born in the country, although she now has Italian citizenship.
Two days after the dramatic snowstorm that hit Catalunya, some 66,000 houses and businesses in the Girona region are still without electricity and some roads are still experiencing traffic jams (read article in Castilian here, La Vangaurdia). The electricity company Endesa said that 70 percent of those affected by the cut in electricity on Monday had had power restored to them yesterday, but that 66,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity; Endesa hopes that all those affected will see power return at some point today—while it has fixed the fault in the network, the company is having problems in reconnecting all the different systems. The towns affected include Lloret de Mar, Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Torroella de Montgrí, as well as some residents in the city of Girona itself. Meanwhile, some roads are still causing problems for vehicles, particularly the AP-7 at the border between Catalunya and France, where lorries that had to halt their journey because of their snow are now trying to continue on into France, causing serious tail-backs. This morning the other road that crosses into France at La Jonquera, the N-II, had to be closed due to fresh snowfall. Elsewhere, 78 sections of road in Catalunya are affected by snow or ice, of which 19 are completely closed.
Despite the chaos caused in many parts of Catalunya due to Monday’s snow, the Generalitat’s Minister of the Interior, Joan Saura, has defended the government’s handling of the situation and says that the weather forecast should have been better (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Saura argued that it was the loss of electricity that had caused the biggest problems in the region and that, without that, within 24 hours of the unusual snowfall, the country would have been back to normal. He also defended the actions of the coalition government against criticism from the opposition Convergencia i Unió (CiU) party and said that the actions taken by the authorities this time had been far superior to those taken by CiU back in 2001, when Catalunya also faced heavy snow.
Also in the news: Caixa Girona withdraws from fusion plan at last minute (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Unused land in Ciutat Vella to temporarily be given over to social projects (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Catalunya-based British author Tom Sharpe compares conditions following snowstorm to England in World War Two—read his letter to La Vanguardia here, in Castilian