Winter is coming: Arctic blast to sweep across Spain bringing snow

After a fortnight marked by torrential rain and flash flooding in parts of Spain, more severe weather is on the way.

Winter is coming: Arctic blast to sweep across Spain bringing snow
Snowfall in Madrid's Retiro park in February, 2018. Photo: AFP
Temperatures are set to plummet by 15C in some places as an Arctic blast sweeps south across the Peninsula from Friday, even as far south as Andalusia.

Spain’s state meteorological agency (AEMET) has warned that the first snow is expected over the weekend for zones above 1,200 meters.

Although temperatures have been warm through October, with the thermometer tipping 23C in Madrid on Tuesday, it will have dropped to a mere 10C maximum by Sunday.

The first frost is expected in the north of the country not just in the mountains but also on the plains. Soria is predicted to reach zero temperatures on Saturday and Sunday.

The cold weather brings precipitation which will be snow in the mountains to the north and rain across much of the rest of Spain and the Balearic Islands.

The wintry conditions are predicted to continue until the middle of next week.

It’s time to unpack the winter coats.

IMAGES: Southern Spain hit by worst floods in living memory


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.