Spain is still boring itself out of Philomena, the worst snowstorm it has seen in 50 years

Spain is still burrowing itself after the biggest snowstorm to hit the Mediterranean country 50 years The capital, Madrid, and surrounding areas were criticized over the weekend, which disrupted transit and efforts to distribute coronavirus vaccines, and caused the deaths of at least four people.

The bulk of snow from the storm Philomena began on Friday evening and 20 inches left In the capital and neighboring provinces it end on Saturday.

Rail service has been suspended in some areas, and The New York Times It reported 12,500 miles of roads were either closed or idle. Firefighters, military and emergency crews cleared runways and roads from Friday to Saturday, freeing more than 1500 people trapped In their cars in very cold temperatures.

Although hundreds of routes had opened by Sunday and departing flights resumed at Madrid-Barajas airport, the Associated Press reported that roads in parts of the country remain largely closed, and officials warned that the country was not yet in a clear position.

„A week of bitter cold is coming and it will turn all the snow on the ground into ice, thus multiplying the risks,“ said Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska Reporters On Sunday. „The storm brings with it a cold wave that could push temperatures to record levels,“ he added.

at least Four people died The result of the storm. Two people suffering from homelessness died from exposure – one near Madrid and the other in Calatayud, a city in the country’s northeast. A woman and a man drowned after their car was washed away by floods when a river overflowed near the southern city of Malaga.

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On Sunday, government authorities warned people to keep off the roads as much as possible The AP reported, Saying that although all the trapped in their cars were rescued, many abandoned vehicles remained on the roads.

Many Spaniards took advantage of the snow to enjoy some winter fun. On social media, scenes of Spaniards have appeared on the streets happily participating in team snowball fights.

Some revelers were even seen skating the streets of Madrid.

What is behind the historical snow in Spain?

Although Spanish reports expected snowfall, few expected it to be severe.

Robin del Campo, spokesperson for the Spanish government meteorological office, EMET, Reporters That „you might have to go back to the 1970s in search of similar snowfall in and around the capital.“

It can be very difficult to determine the set of factors that led to this (or any event) of extreme weather events, but the experts I spoke to said that the historic snowfall in Filomena may have been caused by high levels of humidity combined with ideal snow temperatures, at the time. the appropriate.

In general, the warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold, which increases the likelihood of precipitation. It is possible that the air before the phyllumina contained more moisture and then met ‘Moderate terms„From about 28 degrees Fahrenheit to 32 degrees Fahrenheit and this is necessary for snowfall to fall on the surface of the earth.

Like Kevin Trenberth of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research He told me, „Peak snow occurs when surface temperatures are around 28 degrees Fahrenheit and there is a lot of moisture flowing into the storm from the oceans, where moisture is abundant, and more abundant than it was before due to global warming.“

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Trenberth added that in Philomena’s case, „the conditions were just right.“

This does not necessarily mean that climate change is directly responsible for the snowstorm in Spain.

Robinson, from Rutgers, told me, „It is not possible to relate this storm to anything directly related to climate change.“ „However, having said that, there is nothing in the weather world these days where climate change does not have some fundamental effect on what happens.“

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