Brrrrr! Spain shivered in coldest March in 12 years

You weren't alone huddled under your blankets last month - this March was the coldest March in the past 12 years.

Brrrrr! Spain shivered in coldest March in 12 years
People walk on a road with heavy snowfall in March near ski resort Lunada in the northern province of Burgos. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP.

Spanish weather agency AEMET reported on Wednesday that last month was the coldest March on record since 2004, making it the second chilliest March this century.

The average temperature was 10C, which is 1.3C degrees less than the average for March in Spain.

March also had a strikingly high number of days with ice this time of year in many areas, according to AEMET, with Puerto de Navacerrada ski resort outside Madrid having a full 27 out 31 days with freezing temperatures.

The lowest temperature in Navacerrada last month was recorded on March 8th at -7.2C.

The amount of rainfall was also higher than normal, with the country receiving on average 62 millimetres of rain – 31 percent higher than the norm of 47 millimetres for this month.

The wet weather put a damper on many Spaniards' Easter week celebrations as much of the country saw rain throughout Semana Santa in March.

Cold temperatures have continued in some areas into this month, with frost reported early Thursday morning in the northern, interior areas.

Rain and some snow are expected to continue in the most northern parts of Spain into Friday and the weekend. But the rest of the country is expected to have more sun, especially in the southern and central parts, though also a bit of cloudiness into Saturday and Sunday.

Prediction from AEMET for Thursday afternoon and evening.

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Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings

Nine Spanish regions were put on alert on Tuesday for heavy snow, rain and strong winds, with the country's traffic authorities calling for people taking holidays this long weekend to head home early to avoid the worst of the bad weather.

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings
Vehicles stuck in traffic due to a heavy snowfall near Burgos, northern Spain, in March 2021. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

Aragón, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country will be on orange alert from Tuesday for snow storms, while Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja and La Comunidad Valenciana are on the less-severe yellow alert, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) announced.

A slight increase in temperatures will increase the risk of avalanches in the Pyrenees and the central Cantabrian mountain range.

Some roads in the north of the country are already being affected by snow and are being restricted to some traffic such as trucks and heavy vehicles.

Spain’s traffic authority (DGT) called on residents in the northern half of the country to return early from the puente (long weekend) marked by the public holidays of December 6 and 8, ahead of heavy snow forecast for Wednesday.

Of the 108 main roads affected by the heavy snow in Spain, almost half of them are in the northeastern region Aragón.

Aragón, Catalonia and Navarra are at risk of avalanches, according to data from Aemet, while a storm warning has been issued for the coastal areas of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Catalonia and the Basque country.

Heavy rainfall is expected in Galicia, extending to Cantabria and the western Pyrenees.