THE gloriously sunny and mild start to 2011 is about to come to an abrupt end over the next few days in the Balearics.
Fortunately, conditions stayed dry last night for the San Sebastian festivities in Palma, but from today, temperatures are going to drop sharply, especially over night, and widespread rain showers and snow can be expected.
Until Tuesday, we are going to be under the influence of northerly winds which are going to drive the temperatures down.
Today, for example, snow is forecast at 1'000 metres with a day time maximum of 13ºC predicted while temperatures tumble to nine over night and it is the night time temperatures which are going to remain in single figures until at least the middle of next week. Tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday are going to be the coldest days of this current cold snap.
Tomorrow, the snow line is going to drop to 300 metres with maximum temperatures of around 10ºC and minimums of 5ºC.
Tomorrow and Sunday, snow is forecast at 100 metres, even possibly at sea level, as the maximum temperatures remain at between 10ºC and 11ºC while the minimums fall to just 4ºC.
From Monday, a very gradual improvement is forecast with temperatures rising by 1ºC and the snow line retreating to 400 and 500 metres respectively.
But, for the best part of the next week, the northerly winds, which at times will be gale force in the mountains, will add to the wind chill factor and make conditions feel much colder.
Doctors were warning yesterday that the sudden snap in the weather is going to provoke an increase in the number of flu cases and advised the general public to keep a close eye on the weather forecasts and make sure they dress and eat accordingly.
What is more, any potential flu victims are advised to consult their GP before rushing to hospital to ease the pressure on the accident and emergency wings.