Rain in Spain, Portugal to alleviate drought conditions as spring gets underway
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A storm traveling through Spain and Portugal with rain may be the last chance for the area to avoid a dangerous drought going into summer.
Wet weather returned to much of Spain and Portugal in time for the weekend.
"A storm dove southward through Portugal into southern Spain through Sunday, bringing rounds of rain for the Iberian Peninsula," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
The heaviest rainfall spread from northwestern Spain and northern Portugal to southeastern parts of both countries throughout the weekend.
Rainfall amounts reached 12-25 mm (0.5-1 inch) across areas hit by rounds of rain with a couple isolated locations reporting 45-75 mm (2-3 inches) throughout the weekend.
Estepona on the southern coast of Spain reported 97 mm (3.82 inches) of rain throughout the weekend.
This amount of rain in just a few hours lead to localized reports of flooding with downpours causing ponding on the roadways and reduced visibility, which lead to delays in travel.
This stormy weather comes following more than 75 mm (3 inches) of rain that fell in parts of eastern Spain on March 15 and 16. Heavy snow also accumulated in the highest elevations, where some mountains reported up to 30 cm (12 inches) of snow.
"Many of the areas that were unable to get substantial rain from the last few storms are likely to get rain this time," added Roys.
Such areas include central and southern Portugal, as well as central and southwestern Spain.
These locations, according to the Spanish Drought Monitor, are in a slight to moderate drought following the lack of rain this winter.
As long as the intensity of the rain remains light enough, this weekend's rain would be beneficial in helping to alleviate the drought. The snow that has fallen in the mountains will also help to keep water levels in reservoirs higher, once the snow begins to melt as the seasons change.
"Spain and Portugal are coming out of their wet season, into gradually drier seasons for spring and summer. Going into these drier seasons with below-normal rainfall can have huge implications for the fire threat in the months ahead," Roys added.
AccuWeather long-range meteorologists are predicting a warm spring for both Spain and Portugal. The official start of spring was on Thursday.
Should the building heat of spring dry things out quicker than usual, due to less moisture in the soil from the winter, the fire season across Portugal and Spain may start earlier than average.
Following this weekend, there may be another opportunity or two for wet weather to return to the Iberian Peninsula.
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