Storm Filomena leaves much of Spain under blanket of snow

Storm Filomena swept across the peninsula on Thursday bringing heavy snow to much central and northern Spain and torrential rain in the south.

Storm Filomena leaves much of Spain under blanket of snow
Rare snowfall in Madrid's Retiro park on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Andalusia experienced torrential rain with up to 100 litres per square metre recorded in the province of Cadiz while strong winds grounded flights in the Canary Islands.

Snow and ice caused problems across much of mainland Spain with 167 roads closed by lunchtime on Thursday as motorists were warned to stay off the roads and those who had to make essential journeys were advised to carry snow chains.


Spain’s meteorological agency issued weather alerts across 27 provinces on Thursday, extending the warnings across northern Spain on Friday and Saturday.


The snow level reached between 300 and 500 metres above sea level across northern and central Spain while inland areas of the Valencia region saw snow fall between 400 and 600 metres above sea level.

The lowest ever temperature in Spain was recorded in the Picos de Europe in Leon province where the mercury dropped to minus 35.8ºC beating the previous record of -34.1ºC registered in the Pyrenees the day before.



In Madrid, the first snowflakes began falling mid-morning with predictions that it would continue over the next few days bringing up to 20cm of snow by Saturday.

Madrid mayor warned people to only leave their home if they had to.

Spain’s national rail operator Renfe warned that its high-speed trains would be travelling at reduced speeds and that travellers should expect delays and cancellations.


Meanwhile air passengers were warned to expect delays and cancellations and told to check with airline operators before heading to the airport.

Flights to and from the Canary Islands were affected by strong winds with at least  eight flights cancelled. 



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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.