WEATHER

In Spain, the start of spring will feel more like a return to winter

Temperatures could drop to -10ºC in mountain areas and low-elevation snow is expected in places like Burgos, León, Soria and Valladolid

White-out conditions on a road in Burgos on March 8.
White-out conditions on a road in Burgos on March 8.Tomás Alonso / Europa Press

Spring will officially start on Saturday, March 20, but in Spain it will feel more like a return to winter.

On Thursday, sunny skies will make way for a sudden temperature drop on the mainland and in the Balearic Islands, and the national meteorology agency Aemet is warning that there could be low-elevation snow in parts of the country.

The Canary Islands will not feel the effects of this colder weather, which is expected to subside on Monday, March 22.

For now, forecasters cannot pinpoint exactly which areas will be most affected by the snow, but Aemet spokesperson Rubén Del Campo noted that “it seems clear that we’re not looking at another Filomena,” alluding to the wave of record-breaking cold and snowfall that hit the country in January.

On Thursday, a mass of very cold air from the European continent will sweep over the Iberian peninsula, along with a low-pressure area that will move towards the southwest

The change in the weather is being blamed on northerly winds that are causing a buildup of clouds over the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian mountain ranges. Snow is expected in the Pyrenees at elevations of 1,000 to 1,300 meters, going down to 700 meters by Wednesday night. The coastal areas of Catalonia and the Valencia region, as well as the Balearics, can expect to see rainfall.

On Thursday, a mass of very cold air from the European continent will sweep over the Iberian peninsula, along with a low-pressure area that will move towards the southwest, “when normally they move from the Atlantic towards the European continent,” noted Del Campo. This unusual path makes it harder to predict the low’s exact position, as well as its effects.

But Del Campo said it is “quite likely” that temperatures will drop significantly on Thursday in Spain’s southeastern and Mediterranean areas, as well as in the Balearic Islands, and that this drop will be felt elsewhere in the country by Friday.

On Friday, highs are expected to be 5º to 10º below average for this time of the year. On Saturday, they could be as much as 15º below average in parts of northern Spain. Readings on thermometers will start going up again on Sunday, but it will still feel “very cold,” according to the Aemet forecaster.

“Temperatures will drop below -2º in the southern plateau, below -5º in the northern plateau and central high plains, and below -10º in mountain areas,” said Del Campo.

Also on Friday, there is a chance of snowfall at elevations of under 500 meters in northern and southeastern Spain, making it possible to see snow in provincial capitals such as Burgos, León, Soria and Valladolid.

English version by Susana Urra.

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