Not the coldest winter for 100 years after all, but the seventh-warmest in 52 years and one of the wettest, says new seasonal forecast

REPORTS released a few days ago saying Spain’s winter will be ‘the coldest in 100 years’ have been countered already – according to the State meteorological agency, AEMET, temperatures will actually be much higher than average instead of lower.

Residents in Spain are now confused as to whether to dust off their woolly jumpers and thermals, or whether a T-shirt and jacket will do – but are generally hoping for the latter.

Winter 2016-2017 will, later reports have claimed, be the seventh-warmest since 1965 – and, just to confirm global temperatures are indeed rising, the fifth-warmest so far this century.

January, February and March are expected to be above-averagely warm after an uncharacteristically-mild autumn, says AEMET.

The average round-the-clock temperature from mid-September until now has been 16.8ºC – a total of 0.9ºC higher than the mean figure for the time of year – and, as this covers all regions from the sun-drenched Canaries to the mild Mediterranean and south coast through to the chilly north and centre, which vary considerably, this explains why some coastal areas have seen numbers in the high 20s even in November.

September and October were extremely warm, although November settled to more normal autumn temperatures, the Met office says.

In fact, some of the hottest days of the year have been in September over the last few years, with the mercury soaring in the first and second week even higher than it had in July and August.

The record was held by Córdoba, which hit 45.4ºC in the shade on September 6, just above Sevilla and Murcia the previous day at 44.8ºC and 44.6ºC – and even north-western Galicia, where blankets reappear on beds in late August, saw temperatures of over 40ºC in September.

Barely five or 10 years ago, September was a clear cut-off point for the summer and spelt the end of beach season, but more recently, thermometer readings have skewed the figures and given the impression of an uncharacteristically warm autumn.

That said, winter is expected to follow suit – but with it will come vastly more rainfall than usually seen between mid-December and mid-March.

The centre, west and Canary Islands are unlikely to notice a difference, but Catalunya, Valencia, Murcia, eastern Andalucía and the Balearic Islands will find their umbrellas get far more use and their washing lines much less than usual for the season.

Autumn has already been wetter than normal for most of the country, with the record held by Valencia – not counting the recent December deluges, the soggiest day for the region, and the country, was November 27 which saw five-and-a-half inches (13 centimetres) of rain in one day.
This has made up for the fourth year running where rainfall has been way below average and, in some regions, almost absent, threatening on-tap water supplies.

Skiing fans got their hopes up when they learnt that Spain was in for its coldest winter in a century, since this would mean guaranteed snow for a longer period, but the more recent seasonal forecast has put a damper on their spirits.

Published Think Spain24 December 2016

Return to Daily News