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Storm to unleash rain and chilly winds on Spain, France into Saturday

By By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
February 27, 2016, 1:18:22 PM EST

A moisture-laden storm from the Atlantic Ocean will bring a variety of disruptive weather to the Iberian Peninsula and South of France into Saturday.

The storm first arrived on Friday with a band of rain sweeping from west to east across Portugal and Spain. Heavy downpours with the storm caused poor visibility and ponding on roadways. Localized flooding issues in low-lying and poor drainage areas will continue to be an issue into Saturday, especially along the northern tier of the country.

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In the Cantabrian Mountains, the rain will persist into Saturday evening. Along the northern slopes, rainfall totals of 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) can be expected with local amounts up to 100 mm (4 inches), elevating the risk for flooding throughout the region.

The rain will taper to showers for the rest of Spain and Portugal for Saturday, while a steadier rain continues across Catalonia.

Outside of any downpours and isolated flooding, rainfall across southern Portugal and southern Spain will be largely beneficial as drought conditions are ongoing over the region. Rainfall will generally average 6-12 mm (0.25-0.50 of an inch); however, up to 25 mm (1 inch) is possible from Granada northeast to Albacete.


Enough cold air will be drawn into the back side of the storm for snow to develop in the mountains. A total of 20-40 cm (8-16 inches) will make for extremely treacherous travel, but it will be a boon for the ski industry in the Cantabrians and Pyrenees.

Colder air will be ushered in by gusty winds, which will cause AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures to be held well below actual temperatures across all of Portugal and Spain. RealFeel Temperatures will only climb slightly above freezing in Madrid on Saturday, forcing residents to bundle up before heading outdoors.

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Minor coastal flooding may occur along the coast of northwestern Spain and Portugal at high tide due to the winds.

Following some lighter rainfall across southern France on Friday, the biggest impacts will occur on Saturday and Saturday night.


As the storm moves eastward, it will strengthen and pull moisture from the Mediterranean northward into southern France and cause heavy rainfall.

Areas from Narbonne to Montpellier, Marseille and Nice are most likely to get heavy rainfall and flooding. Rainfall of 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) is expected in a 12-hour period, leading to rapid rise in water levels and urban flooding. Localized rainfall amounts exceeding 100 mm (4 inches) are possible until Sunday morning.

Gusty winds will also develop and bring the risk of rough seas and minor coastal flooding to the southern coast of France for the first half of the weekend.

Additional light rainfall is expected across southern France on Sunday, but the heaviest rain and flooding threat will shift into northern Italy. Stronger winds on the storm's back side will develop around the Gulf of Lion Sunday night into Monday.

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