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WINTER

Winter is coming: Spain on alert for first snowfall of the season

Cold fronts sweeping over the peninsula will send temperatures plummeting and see the first big snowfall of the winter in the mountains of northern Spain

Winter is coming: Spain on alert for first snowfall of the season
Photos: AFP

Spain’s meteorological agency AEMET warned that from Thursday much of the northern half of Spain will see the first frost of the season as temperatures drop to below to zero during the night.

Several cold fronts are moving from west to east from the Atlantic to Mediterranean coast bringing strong winds and storms.

Snowfall is expected in areas above 1,500 metres overnight on Wednesday and could even descend to below 1,000 metres along the Cantabrian coast and Pyrenees overnight on Thursday.

The cold snap is predicted to continue over the weekend and well into next week with the worst of the weather expected on Sunday.

Aemet warned that the Balearic Islands, which are just recovering in the aftermath of Storm Amelie will be battered yet again by high seas and strong winds, while the Canary Islands will experience “moderate to strong” trade winds with heave rain in the north of the mountainous islands.

 

READ ALSO: Eight essential ways to tackle winter like a true Spaniard

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WEATHER

Spain’s capital delays reopening of schools after historic snowfall

Madrid's regional government on Friday postponed the opening of schools until January 20 because many roads remained blocked a week after Spain's worst snowstorm in decades.

Spain's capital delays reopening of schools after historic snowfall
Children riding sleds are pulled by their parents amid a heavy snowfall in Madrid on January 9, 2021: AFP

The region's 2,557 schools had been set to reopen on Monday but access to over half of them, or 57.6 percent, remains difficult because of the snow and ice, the regional government said in a statement.

Clean-up crews will “continue working intensely over the following days” to ensure school can open as planned, it added.

Storm Filomena dumped 50 centimetres (20 inches) of snow on Madrid between last Friday and Saturday, leaving the city and large swathes of the country impassable.

AFP

The storm had been blamed for five deaths. It was followed by several days of plunging temperatures, which hardened mounds of snow and slush.

ANALYSIS: Should Madrid be declared a disaster zone as true cost of storm damage emerges?

While main arteries have been cleared, hundreds of side streets remained caked in snow and ice which has disrupted post delivery and rubbish collection, with huge piles of refuse piled up around overflowing bins across Madrid.

A pile of garbage bags is pictured in Madrid on January 14, 2021. Gabriel BOUYS / AFP

READ ALSO: IN PICS: Spectacular images of snow-covered Spain from the air

About a third of all streets, or 30.3 percent of all streets have been cleared, according to Madrid city hall which estimates the storm caused at least 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in damage.

Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said the storm dumped more than 1.2 million kilos of snow on the city, enough to form a line of trucks stretching from Madrid to Brussels.

He has called on the central government to declare the area a disaster zone, a move that would trigger emergency aid and other measures.

But the central government wants to wait for a final evaluation of the damage before it decides whether to declare Madrid a disaster area, Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos told reporters.

People walk amid a heavy snowfall in Madrid on January 9, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Meanwhile, Madrid three main art museums — the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofia, the home of Picasso's masterpiece “Guernica” — all announced that they would reopen on Monday for the first time since the storm hit.

People enjoy the snow outside the Royal Palace in Madrid on January 9, 2021. Gabriel BOUYS / AFP

READ ALSO: LATEST: Big freeze across Spain set to last into next week

READ ALSO: Ten phrases to talk about cold and wet weather like a true Spaniard

 

 

 

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