Winter is here: Spain braced for icy blast and snowfall over puente

The first of the cold winter weather will arrive just in time for Spain’s December puente as Storm Dora sends an icy blast across the peninsula.

Winter is here: Spain braced for icy blast and snowfall over puente
File photo of a snowy road in Burgos: AFP

Mountainous regions across much of northern Spain are expecting a blanket of snow while the Cantabrian coast will be battered  by high seas and strong winds.

Spain’s meteorological agency AEMET has issued weather warnings including Andalusia, Murcia, parts of Valencia and the Balearic Islands.

Galicia, Asturias, parts of Castilla y Leon and zones in the Pyrenees from the Basque Country through Aragon to Catalonia have weather alerts for snow.

Temperatures are predicted to drop below 0C in many parts of Spain over the bank  holiday weekend which links the weekend with the public holidays of Constitution Day and the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The long weekend is usually a time when Spaniard travel either to enjoy the start if the ski season, to visit family or for a city trip to enjoy Christmas lights and shopping.

But this year all but three of Spain's autonomous communities have closed their borders restricting movement to prevent a rise in coronavirus infections ahead of the Christmas holidays.


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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.