STAFF REPORTER

MADRID/PALMA
WITH the end of November having seen widespread snow and gales right across the country, the National Weather Agency (AEMET) said yesterday that more settled weather is to mark the start of December.

AEMET spokesman Angel Rivera explained that Spain is in the grip of a double-layered storm with a high cold air front bringing an icy chill to low level rain and wind.

The bad weather has been making its way from the Gulf of Cadiz towards the Mediterranean and up to the Pyrenees. Its passage has meant heavy, generalised rainfall and the snow level dropping as low as 400 or 500 metres above sea level.

Gradually, said Rivera, the gales are driving up to the central northern areas of the mainland. The worst, he said were the conditions which were experienced yesterday and those which are expected today.

Temperatures, he confirmed, will remain low today and tomorrow. Maximum figures could fall by a full 2 degrees Centigrade and minimum temperatures will either fall or remain the same.

In terms of the amount of snow forecast, said Rivera, volumes are not going to be excessive - 10 centimetres in mountain areas, whilst most lower lying areas can expect between 3 and 5 centimetres. There are, however, he warned, some areas of the mainland in Castilla-La Mancha, Cuenca and Albacete where an Orange Level 2 Weather Alert is in place because of heavy snow forecasts.

The variation in temperatures over the country, said Rivera, is extraordinary. On Sunday, thermometers read minus -9.9 degrees Centigrade in Teruel, Huesca and Burgos whilst a day earlier on Sunday, the Canary Islands had maximum figures of 26 degrees.

Rainfall reached 93 litres per square metre in Tenerife and at 8.30am yesterday morning, winds in the same area of the Canary Islands were whipping into a violent 192 kilometres per hour.

Tomorrow, however, predicted Rivera, will see a more settled weather pattern with rainfall remaining only in the extreme south and north of the country, and in mountainous areas.

He said that although rain and wind will have largely abated, temperatures will still remain low and warned people not to drop their guard against the cold.

Rivera said that by Saturday when the early December long weekend begins, there will be another storm sweeping in from the Atlantic but it will bring with it milder temperatures and less likelihood of snow.

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