Staff Reporter THE National Institute of Meteorology warned yesterday of a drastic change in weather over the coming days. Wintry conditions will envelop the land caused by two major squalls attacking the Iberian Peninsula. The combination of cold weather fronts will provoke widespread falls in temperature, and strong rainfall in some areas, which will turn to snow in low-lying areas, particularly between Thursday and Friday. In the Balearics, as of this afternoon and Friday, there will be snow at 800 metres. One of the squalls originating in central Europe, will begin to affect the north-east of the Peninsula today and will then move eastwards where it will remain some days in a semi-stationery position. The other, sweeping in from the Atlantic, will begin to affect the Canary Islands as of this morning and will later move on towards the Mediterranean where it will merge with the first squall. The joint action of both weather fronts and of the low-level air masses which accompany them are going to result in a generalised drop in temperature in all regions of the country with a sensation of severe cold caused by the presence of the wind, which will blow with moderate intensity and in some areas, strongly. Rainfall will be particularly heavy in the area of the Canaries (possibly as much as 60 litres in 12 hours), on the south-east of the Peninsula and Mediterranean areas (where it will be persistent) and weaker in other areas. During this afternoon and Friday, snow will start to fall in low-lying areas, below 400 metres in the north-eastern sector of the Peninsula, 600 to 800 metres in the rest of the mid-north and about 800 metres above sea level in the south-east sector and in the Balearic Islands. In the later part of Friday and throughout Saturday, however, snow will be falling at higher levels (600 to 800 metres above sea level in the area of Cantabria in the mid-north of the Peninsula, and between 1'000 and 1'500 metres in the mid-eastern sector), accompanied by a gradual rise in temperature. During Sunday and Monday, it is probable that rainfall will continue throughout much of Spain, turning to snow in the north-east sector above 600 to 800 metres. Meanwhile, the cold snap has meant increased demands on the Majorca/Minorca electricity distribution system. On Tuesday, recorded output stood at 787 megawatts, a 21 percent increase on the last registered maximum on 15 February. Figures also show that over the last two days, the consumption of piped gas rose by 28.7 percent (179 tonnes) as a direct result of the fall in temperature.