MADRID (Reuters) – Meteorologists are expecting the heaviest snowfall in decades brought by Storm Philomina on Friday in most areas of the Spanish capital Madrid and neighboring Castilla-La Manch.
Such incidents are rare in the region and people are disturbed in daily life and mobility, at a time when people are returning home after the Christmas and New Year holidays. This year, however, there is less traffic than usual due to restrictions to prevent the coronavirus epidemic.
As heavy snow began to fall, authorities said major parks in Madrid, including the famous Retiro next to the Prado Museum, would be closed from Friday afternoon as a precaution.
20 cm in 24 hours. With a forecast of (about 8 inches) and temperatures expected to hover around zero centigrade for most of the day, the southern direction of the Madrid region, including the capital, is at its highest level of warning since the system was created in 2007.
Reuben del Campo, a spokeswoman for the state’s Meteorological Agency, said the city was experiencing the heaviest snowfall so far, at least in the 21st century.
He added: “If the predictions we have made come true, we will have to go back to the February 1984 snowfall or to March 1971.
Light snow has already blanketed Mnow Drid on Thursday, a day after Spain recorded the lowest temperature in the northern Pyrenees at -1.1.1 cm on the Iberian Peninsula.
Hurricane Philomina is heading towards Spain after hitting the Canary Islands with heavy winds and rain.
In Gran Canaria, a ferry with 59 passengers and 17 crew ran aground Thursday night due to strong winds entering the port of Agate.
The coastguard was building a ferry at the port on Friday, with passengers and crew still aboard.
(This story corrects Philomina’s Spanish spelling)
Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Cristina Sanchez, editing by Andre Khalip and Gareth Jones