A polar air mass that entered the Iberian peninsula on Wednesday has already caused sharp drops in temperature, but the worst is yet to come, said the national weather service Aemet.
“An episode of intense cold” is forecast for Friday, when the mercury will continue to plummet across much of Spain. Thirty provinces are on yellow alert, the lowest on a three-color scale, except for Guadalajara, where there is an orange advisory in place. Lows of -10 ºC are expected in Parameras de Molina.
Elsewhere, weather stations have recorded -8.2ºC in La Molina (Girona), at an elevation of 1,700 meters, and -6.8ºC in Puerto de Navacerrada (Madrid).
Aemet spokesman Rubén del Campo said that the cold spell is not out of the ordinary for a month of January, and noted that “we are emerging from a warm December when temperatures were 1.2ºC above average.”
Temperatures have already dipped between six and eight degrees in a matter of hours in some parts of Spain, said Del Campo. And the northerly wind will increase the feeling of cold.
Temperatures on Friday and Saturday will be “very cold, with lows of five to 10 degrees below average in many parts of northern and eastern Spain, and in the Balearics,” he added.
However, little to no snow is expected “not for lack of cold, but for lack of precipitation, since the air mass is very dry.”
Alerts are in place in Almería, Granada, Jaén, Aragón, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León except for Salamanca and Valladolid, Catalonia save for Tarragona, Madrid, Navarre, the Valencia region, the Balearic Islands, La Rioja, Asturias and Murcia.
On Saturday, the orange warnings will extend to Córdoba, Salamanca, Valladolid, Galicia and Lleida, where lows of -10 ºC are expected in the Vall d’Aran.
English version by Susana Urra.