The weather: An oasis of rain starting this Thursday in the midst of the meteorological drought | Spain

The very long episode of anticyclonic weather -dry and stable- that has affected most of Spain since the beginning of January will end this Thursday with a timid arrival of rain in the northwest of the Peninsula, announces the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet). On Friday, the precipitation will extend to the northern third and on Saturday you can see water in the Mediterranean regions and some showers in the interior. On Sunday and Monday the rains will be widespread and snow may even fall in the mountains. But it will hardly be an oasis in the middle of the desert, because the rains will be scarce, brief and scattered, since from Tuesday the anticyclone will reign again.

The change in weather will occur thanks to a momentary withdrawal of the anticyclone towards the interior of the European continent, which “will give free passage to several Atlantic fronts, which will sweep the Peninsula and leave rain and even snow in high areas, especially on Sunday and on Monday”, advances Rubén del Campo, spokesman for Aemet. Hand in hand with these fronts, temperatures will drop to values ​​more typical of February, after a start in February in which they have been so high that it seemed like April. In fact, the barrier of 30º has already been reached in the Gran Canaria municipality of La Aldea de San Nicolás and it is the fifth year that occurs earlier since 1931.

Maps with the probability of precipitation from Thursday to Tuesday.  The red blades are snow.
Maps with the probability of precipitation from Thursday to Tuesday. The red blades are snow.CESAR RODRIGUEZ BALLESTEROS / AEMET

How many days will it rain and how much? During the five days that the episode will last, the most important rains will be recorded in Galicia, Cantabrian communities and the Pyrenees, with between 20 and 40 liters per square meter, punctually even more than 50. In the rest of the country, in a few areas will exceed 5/10 liters and, the further south and east, the less water. “There are not large amounts of precipitation, the rains will generally be weak and scattered, but at least this cycle of several weeks will be broken with hardly any water or snowfall. In many places, not a single drop has fallen for more than a month,” recalls Del Campo.

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For example, in Madrid, the 15 liters that fell on January 5 are the last, but it is that in rainy cities, such as Santiago de Compostela, they have not seen the water since that day either and about 200 liters should have fallen. In January, the anticyclone robbed the Peninsula of three quarters of the rain that usually falls. “The first third of the hydrological year has been the second driest of the 21st century, with 36% less rain than normal,” the expert points out. January was “the fifth with less rain since 1961 and the second driest of the 21st century”. And, so far in February, “it has barely rained five liters anywhere in the country except in Tenerife and El Hierro and isolated points in the Bay of Biscay.”

This Thursday, stable weather and a cold environment will prevail in most of the country, although at the last minute there will be “a small prelude” to change, with the approach of a front from the northwest that will leave rains and showers in Galicia and surrounding areas. On Friday, the front will slide through the northern third and will leave rains and showers in the Cantabrian communities and the Pyrenees, which may spread weakly and scattered in other points of the northern third and mountains. The snow will appear in the center from 1,500 meters and from 1,000 in the Pyrenees. In the rest of the country the cloudiness will increase, but no rain is expected. It is possible that these precipitations drag “some” of the dust in suspension, so some of these rains will be accompanied by mud, “which is not very common” in the northern third. Temperatures will drop in the northern half and rise somewhat in the rest, with 18 to 20º in the center and south.

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On Saturday, instability will increase, which will result in more frequent cloudy intervals and possible light rains in the Mediterranean regions. A weak and isolated shower in the interior is not ruled out, especially near the mountains in the early afternoon. Late on Saturday, a new front will enter the Atlantic, which will affect Galicia and Asturias above all, where it will leave weak rains. The elevation will be high, at 1,600/1,800 meters, and temperatures will rise in the north and drop in the Mediterranean. There may be frost in the mountains of the southern half, the northern plateau and the central moors. However, the environment will continue “in general somewhat mild in the central hours of the day.”

From Sunday to Monday, this second front will sweep the Peninsula from northwest to southeast and, after it, winds from the Atlantic loaded with moisture will arrive. On Sunday it will rain in Galicia, Cantabrian communities, the Pyrenees, part of Castilla y León and Extremadura and it does not rule out some weak and scattered rain in the rest of the Peninsula, except in the south of Andalusia, the southeast and the Balearic Islands.

On Monday, especially at dawn, there is a “high probability” of rainfall in almost any area of ​​the Peninsula, especially in the Bay of Biscay, where they can be persistent in coastal areas. “Somewhat more abundant” rainfall is also expected in mountain areas, where there will be snowfall. “It will be the day with the greatest probability of rain in most of the country, although it will not be very abundant either,” the spokesman points out. As for the thermometers, on Sunday and Monday they will drop except in the Mediterranean area and in the Balearic Islands, where they will rise. Temperatures will exceed 20º from Barcelona to Málaga, while night frosts will continue in the interior of the northern half and in the center.

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And, as of Tuesday, stop counting, since “the anticyclone will be installed again, which will once again block the passage of storms.” Of course, some inactive fronts may pass through Galicia, Cantabrian communities and the Pyrenees throughout the week. The thermometers will rise again and, as of Wednesday, the night frosts will lose intensity and during the central hours of the day they will reach values ​​“well above the usual”. There is even a possibility, yet to be confirmed, that an episode of “very high” temperatures will be recorded in the second half of next week.

And there is no more water in sight. For the remainder of February, Del Campo advances that the forecast models point to rains below normal in most of Spain. For the next two months they do not draw normal values ​​either. This panorama, if fulfilled, will accentuate the drought situation, which keeps the reservoirs at 44.6% of their capacity. The Duero (49.5%), Tajo (46%), Guadiana (30.5%), Guadalete-Barbate (29.8), Guadalquivir (28.5%), the Andalusian Mediterranean Basin are below half (30.6%) and Safe (34.7%). “The meteorological drought ―low rainfall― is already affecting the Guadiana, Guadalquivir, south, Ebro and Eastern Pyrenees basins,” warns Aemet. Half of the Spanish countryside is already on alert due to drought and, if it continues like this for the next three or four weeks, the yield of rainfed crops will fall between 60 and 80%, according to a COAG report.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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