Storm Filomena could cause record breaking snow in Spain - but will it reach the UK?

Friday, 8th January 2021, 3:42 pm
Updated Friday, 8th January 2021, 3:45 pm

People across the UK will be missing the prospect of winter sun, as coronavirus brings travel to a stand still.

However, you may be better off in Britain given that Spain has witnessed some of its coldest temperatures this winter due to Storm Filomena, which is sweeping across Europe and causing heavy rain and snow.

But, could Storm Filomena reach the UK? Here is what we know so far.

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Where is Storm Filomena?

As of 8 January, Storm Filomena has caused heavy rain and snow in Spain and has spread into Portugal, bringing freezing temperatures and snow.

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, parts of Spain including the capital Madrid have been hit by heavy snow, rain and gale force winds.

It’s predicted that on Friday (8 Jan) and Saturday (9 Jan) Madrid could see more snowfall than it has had since the 1980s.

The Spanish capital has come to a standstill, with traffic chaos and flights grounded.

Filomena has also caused at least 30 flights to the Canary Islands to be cancelled.

Spokesman for Spain's AEMET weather agency, Ruben del Campo, has expressed concern.

He said: "If the forecasts are confirmed, we could be facing one of the most extensive snowfalls in recent years.”

Does Spain usually get snow?

While some coastal regions, including Navarre, Cantabria, Basque Country, Galicia, and Asturias regularly experience snow in the winter months, others are not susceptible to such severe winter forecasts.

Some of Spain’s most mountainous regions also experience snow throughout the majority of the year, including the Pyrenees.

The country has an unusually high 13 climate zones, however it usually only experiences five of these.

These are hot-summer Mediterranean climate, warm-summer Mediterranean climate, oceanic climate, warm-summer continental climate, and semiarid climate.

For the most part, Spain is a warm country and the popular holiday destination of Barcelona will only expect a few hours of snow in any winter and this should clear within 24 hours.

In 2018, the Beast from the East - a storm which originated in Siberia and engulfed much of Europe - left Barcelona with a blanket of snow which affected travel and businesses.

The south of the country rarely experiences wintery conditions, but this year the Canary Islands, which lie south of the mainland, have experienced snow as a result of Storm Filomena.

Has Storm Filomena reached other countries?

Storm Filomena has already brought wet and cold conditions to Portugal, and it's expected to spread across Europe.

According to the BBC, there could be significant differences across the north and south of

Europe in the coming days.

This includes snow in Greece and Albania, which could range from 20 to 40cm.

On Friday 7 January, Darren Bett told viewers on the BBC’s breakfast news: “For many northern areas pressure is higher and it is drier in most places but the air is colder.

"To the south, we have this chain of weather fronts producing areas of heavy rain and some snow over the high ground.

"Of course it is storm Filomena that is bringing all that wetter weather into Spain and Portugal.”

He added that the storm could introduce rain and, in some places, snow across the continent during the weekend of 9-10 January.

Could the storm reach the UK?

Storm Filomena is not expected to reach Britain before the weekend (9-10 Jan). Filomena is instead expected to push further into the south of Europe, shifting away from the UK.

However, a thick blanket of snow could still cover nearly 500 miles of Britain, from Cardiff in South Wales to Durness in the north of Scotland.

High areas could see almost 15 inches of snow, this could impact parts of Wales, northern England and the Midlands, however this isn’t linked to Filomena.