Weather warning: 15 Spanish regions on alert for snowstorms, gales and avalanches

Temperatures dropped across Spain on Wednesday with 15 regions were placed on alert for strong wind, snowstorms and avalanches, according to the National Meteorological Agency (AEMET).

Weather warning: 15 Spanish regions on alert for snowstorms, gales and avalanches
On Tuesday Spain’s traffic authority (DGT) called on residents in the northern half of the country to "avoid all trips by road that are not essential." Photo: Cesar Manso / AFP

Fifteen out of the country’s 17 autonomous communities were put on risk for snowstorms, rain and avalanches, seven of which were on orange alert: Andalucía, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country.

Heavy snowstorms are expected in the north of the peninsula in the Cantabrian mountain range.

On Tuesday Spain’s traffic authority (DGT) called on residents in the northern half of the country to “avoid all trips by road that are not essential,” and return early from the puente (long weekend) marked by the public holidays of December 6 and 8, ahead of heavy snow forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.

The DGT also warned that in 24 hours there could be between 10 and 15 centimetres of snow.

So far 58 roads and ports are affected by the weather in the north of the peninsula, especially in Aragon, Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León. The DGT has called for caution when driving on the A-67 in Cantabria, the AP-66 in Asturias and the A-6 in Castilla y León.

In Madrid, tyre chains are obligatory on the M601.

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

Temperatures as expected to fall considerably in the north due to the arrival of an anticyclone, with winds of more than 80 km/hour in the Cantabrian Sea.

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.

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Valencia experiences rainiest day in May on record

The city of Valencia experienced on Tuesday May 3rd the rainiest day in May since records began, during what's already proving to be the wettest spring in history in the eastern city and region.

Valencia experiences rainiest day in May on record

A total of 145.4 l/m2 of rain fell in just 24 hours in Valencia city, the largest amount in the month of May since 1871.

The rains have already caused numerous problems for traffic, the city’s metro and tram systems due to the flooding.  

rainiest day in May in Valencia

Accumulated rainfall in 24 hours between 5am on May 3rd to 5am on May 4th. Source: AEMET

According to Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), the rainstorm was accompanied by lightning and conditions are expected to continue throughout today, May 4th.

Aemet reported that by 10pm on Tuesday night, 181 l/m2 of rain had been collected at the Viveros observatory in Valencia, 122 l/m2 at Valencia airport, 121 l/m2 in Sagunto, 96 l/m2 in El Puig and 82 l/m2 in Castelló de la Plana.

Spain’s national weather agency reported prior to Tuesday’s downpour that this has been the rainiest spring in the Valencia region on record, “even if not a single more drop fell” .

Since March 3rd when the rainfall began, except for “brief pauses in April, it has almost not stopped raining” .

graph of rainfall in Valencia

The amount of spring precipitation in the Valencia region in 2022 is much higher than in previous years. Source: AEMET

Valencia city was one of the worst affected places

The capital of the Valencia region was the worst-hit area, with the deluge flooding homes and cutting off numerous roads.  

The tunnels of Hermanos Machado (Ronda Norte), Primado Reig/Peset Aleixandre and Clariano and the roads of Farinós and Vera, as well as in Ingeniero Fausto Elio were all closed to traffic due to the floods and some continue to be so on May 4th. 

The maritime neighbourhoods of Malvarrosa and Cabanyal were two of the worst affected with rainfall inundating the ground floor of numerous homes.

According to the Valencian Meteorological Association (Avamet), these coastal areas of ​​the city, experienced more than 200 litres of rain per square metre, in just a few hours. 

The Universitat Politècnica de València has also suspended all face-to-face lessons on the Vera campus this Wednesday, May 4th, because of the floods.  

Emergency services were called

Local Police sources said that since 8pm on May 3rd when the storm has become torrential, they received 94 emergency calls due to problems caused by the rains.  

The Provincial Firefighters Consortium also became involved when they rescued three people whose vehicle had been trapped by the water in Paterna. In total, they have also answered 50 emergency calls, mostly related to rescuing people and flooded roads.

The Emergency Coordination Center of the Generalitat has updated its warnings and has issued a new bulletin on meteorological risks, specifically pre-emergency due to orange-level rains on the south coast of Castellón and the north coast of Valencia.