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Global weather

Flood threat for eastern Spain this Easter Weekend

By Tyler Roys
4/18/2019, 9:29:40 AM

By AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Tyler Roys.

After a hiatus from blogging about impactful European weather, I felt this upcoming weekend’s threat for flooding merited some time to talk about the reasoning behind the threat.

pressure anomaly


A more common weather pattern that Europe has been dealing with since the end of last winter has been the Scandinavian High blocking pattern. This type of weather pattern is one of the more longer-term patterns as it can last up to a few weeks and act like a road block to the overall weather pattern globally. Besides diverting the storm track to either the Arctic or into southern Europe, it also leads to a congestion from the Atlantic into the United States. When we get into this type of pattern on the European front the likelihood for cut-offs increases. That is what we are going to be dealing with this Easter weekend across the Iberia Peninsula.

500mb pattern Thursday


In the upper levels of the atmosphere, a closed low will drop into the Iberia Peninsula Thursday, and this will lead to more of a steadier rain that will be heavy at times across eastern Spain.

500mb pattern Sunday


This closed low in the upper atmosphere will still be around Easter Sunday, but it will not be as strong, and it will primarily be centered between Spain and Morocco. This will keep the steadier rain across eastern Spain, which will once again continue to remain heavy at times. What will help the rain to be heavy at times is an easterly flow from Good Friday to Easter Sunday which will help funnel the rain to specific parts of eastern Spain over the 72 hours. So, when you combine the easterly flow with a mountainous terrain in eastern Spain, the likelihood of the rain upsloping greatly increases, which increases the threat for mudslides.

The models are pretty consistent with the rainfall forecast for the 120-hour event.

ARPEGE Rain Total


The ARPEGE model is one of the more bullish models with over 8 inches (200 mm) across parts of the central eastern coast of Spain.

GFS Total Rain


The GFS is similar with up to 8 inches (200 mm) across central eastern Spain.

ECMWF Total Rain


The ECMWF is the least bullish with the forecast up to 6 inches (150 mm). For the 120-hour event, generally 1-2 inches (25-50 mm) are expected across eastern Spain with 2-4 inches (50-100 mm) across the central eastern coast of Spain with the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches (200 mm).

I have somewhat already talked about some of the impacts (with mudslides), but given that we are moving toward the dry season across Spain along with the terrain, flooding in the form of river, stream, street and flash flooding are more likely to occur. This, in turn, will lead up to numerous transportation delays and road closures.

This heavy rain will impact Good Friday events and services that typically take place outside, the Easter Vigil Masses that start outside, and any sunrise services on Easter morning.

Stay with AccuWeather.com for the latest updates on the forecast regarding the flooding threat.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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