Wintry blast rattles Spain and Portugal

Heavy rain and snow cause floods and travel disruptions across the Iberian Peninsula.

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    Winter weather sets in as a cold northerly wind brings temperatures down across Spain and Portugal [EPA]
    Winter weather sets in as a cold northerly wind brings temperatures down across Spain and Portugal [EPA]

    Stormy weather continues to batter parts of western Europe leading to recent flooding in Spain and Portugal.

    An increasingly cold weekend saw rain turning to snow across the Iberian Peninsula on Monday.

    The wintry weather set in as a cold northerly wind brought temperatures down across the region. According to the Spanish Traffic Service, 20 roads had to be closed due to snow, rain and high winds.

    The regions of Cantabria and Asturias along Spain's northern coast saw some of the heaviest snowfall. However, Galicia in the northwest was worst-affected with 30 to 40cm of snow in places.

    Hundreds of drivers were trapped in their cars for hours near Ourense as the weather closed in. Mountain roads soon became passable only with the use of snow chains.

    Meanwhile, the same disturbance also brought continuous rain and widespread flooding to parts of northern and central Portugal. The Coimbra region has been particularly affected.

    The ruins of the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Old St Clare) were briefly under a metre of water after the adjacent Rio Mondego burst its banks. The monastery was built in the 14th century on the left bank of the river but was abandoned in the 17th century due to frequent floods.

    The worst of the rain has now cleared though, but not before bringing a late taste of winter to the Balearic Islands.

    A few days ago Mallorca was recording temperatures of around 20C. As the cold air set in, temperatures plunged, turning the rain to snow over the higher ground, bringing around 20cm of snow to the Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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