By Humphrey Carter WHAT a difference a day makes. After Sunday's glorious sunshine, the weather changed dramatically yesterday as a cold snap hit the Balearics bringing 15 centimetres of snow. The afternoon snow fall on the Puig Mayor and neighbouring high peaks of the Tramuntana mountain range was the heaviest so far this winter and there is plenty more to come over the next few days. The Met Office warned yesterday that, this weekend's carnival celebrations are going to be unusually chilly with heavy rain and the odd flurry of snow threatening the region until early next week. Yesterday, the snow line was around 900 metres. Tomorrow, as temperatures drop slightly, snow is forecast as low as 500 metres. There were no problems on the roads yesterday; there was a steady enough flow of traffic to prevent the snow from laying for too long. However, the met office has warned that steady overnight falls this week will lead to some complications and early morning black ice. Drivers be warned, especially the hundreds of people who are expected to head to the mountains this weekend, if the snow continues, to enjoy the snowball fights which have become annual events over the past five years with winter snow falls having lost their novelty factor. What was not so much fun yesterday however, was the temperature. In Alfabia it dropped to -1ºC. In Lluc the temperatures struggled to reach 4ºC while Palma managed to escape the big freeze with temperatures between 7ºC and 11ºC. In Porreres, Port de Pollensa and Portocolom, the maximum temperatures were 8, 10 and 11ºC respectively. Port de Pollensa also registered 27 litres of rain per square metre yesterday, while in Lluc, before it turned to snow last night, 47 litres of rain fell per square metre during the day. In Palma, just ten litres of rain fell per square metre and heavy downpours, turning to snow up high, are forecast for this evening.

Beleive it or not, the Balearics is however on the verge of drought.
Since the beginning of the year, the region has only received one sixth of its usual rainfall quota, and crops could become seriously affected if the situation is prolonged over the coming months. According to the met office, in January and the first fortnight of February this year, it has rained 18 percent less in the Balearics than in the same period of 2003. If, over the coming weeks, the rainfall deficit reaches 20 per cent, for the Institute that would mean the Balearics is entering into a period of drought, explained Agustin Jansá, meteorological director in Palma. According to Jansá, if we consider that rainfall on Majorca in the months of September, October and November last year registered in the upper index levels, then it can be deduced that in the year to date, only 22 percent of the rainfall recorded in previous years has fallen. The expert believes that the scarcity of rainwater that the Island is currently experiencing will principally affect the agricultural sector. The threat is only to certain crops, however, since those dependent on dry farming methods won't miss the rain. Jansá highlighted the peculiarity of this meteorological phenomenon, taking into account that there had been plenty of rainfall in 2003 and that natural water resources were registering a 60 percent surplus.