Many roads have yet to be cleared. | Fernando Villar


Spain's government on Tuesday classified Madrid and other regions struck by Storm Filomena last week as disaster zones, a move which will trigger emergency subsidies and other support measures.

The storm brought the heaviest snowfall in decades and caused at least 1.4 billion euros ($1.70 billion) in damage to the Spanish capital, according to a preliminary estimate from the mayor's office, though opposition parties have disputed that number.

Fallen trees and snowdrifts, which hardened into ice blocks during the ensuing cold snap, blocked roads and train lines, cutting off supplies to Madrid and leaving supermarket shelves empty.

A mammoth cleanup effort involving thousands of police, firemen and military personnel has restored some degree of normality to the city and most public transport has been restored.

But many roads have yet to be cleared and the regional government warned rains predicted for Wednesday are likely to bring floods and further chaos.