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Iberian Peninsula sets new all-time record low, Storm Filomena to drop historic snow over capital Madrid


Spain registered its coldest temperature on record on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, with the mercury in Catalan Pyrenees station dropping to -34.1 °C (-29.4 °F), breaking the previous record set on February 2, 1956. Historic snow is also expected in the capital Madrid this week, prompting officials to prepare for the rare event with a yellow alert issued in many areas.

Frigid temperatures of -34.1 °C (-29.4 °F) smashed the all-time low record not only for Spain but for the entire Iberian Peninsula on Wednesday, January 6, as confirmed by the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET).

The previous record had stood since February 2, 1956, when the mercury hit -32 °C (-25.6 °F) in Estany-Gento, Lleida Province. 

Wednesday's record cold occurred under calm conditions and clear skies.

According to meteorologist Sergi Gonzalez, the cold air from the sides of mountains was pulled down and accumulated in lower levels.

In addition, historic snow is forecast for the capital Madrid starting Thursday, Januaty 7. AEMET has issued warnings for snow and further freezing temperatures until Sunday, January 10.

The extensive snow will be brought by Storm Filomena, prompting a yellow alert in five areas in the city.

Image credit: Meteoalarm

Up to 20 cm (8 inches) of snow is expected in Jaen and Albacete; 15 cm (6 inches) in Alicante, Castellon, and Valencia; 10 cm (4 inches) in Madrid, and 5 cm (2 inches) in Toledo.


Filomena is a perfect combination of different weather features set up in a way we haven't seen since 2018 when Storm Emma ended the Beast from the East across western Europe, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

"A southerly storm track due to high pressure in the east-central Atlantic, the stalled [storm system] over central Europe and cold air that has funneled in from Scandinavia and northern Russia are the features creating this uncommon setup."

Image credit: Meteoalarm

Image credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-11, RAMMB/CIRA, TW. Acquired 12:45 UTC on January 7, 2021.

The system will move across the Azores and spread rain and mountain snow across southern and central Spain into December 8.

On December 9, the storm will move over the Mediterranean Sea toward Italy and then into the Balkans on January 10 and 11, where heavy rain and snow is expected over much of the region.

Severe snowfall initially blanketed the community of Asturias last week, resulting in one death, one person missing, and several others trapped.

In anticipation of the rare event, authorities assured that they are "perfectly coordinated and prepared," and urged residents to stay indoors this weekend.

Featured image credit: Projecte 4 Estacions


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