Storm Filomena brings record snowfall to Spain

Tamsin Green (MetDesk)
·1 min read
<span>Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Last week Storm Filomena blanketed Spain in exceptional amounts of snow. Madrid had its highest 24-hour snowfall in 50 years, with over 50cm (20in). While drier conditions dominated in subsequent days, it remained bitterly cold with rime ice coating surfaces in extensive freezing fog conditions. Rime ice forms as supercooled liquid water droplets are deposited and freeze instantly upon contact with any sub-zero surfaces or objects.

Japan also recently broke some snow depth records, thanks to a phenomenon of “sea-effect snow”. When very cold air flows over a warmer body of water, in this instance frigid air from east Asia over the Sea of Japan, it picks up warmth and moisture, leading to cloud formation. Upon arrival to any mountainous areas, the clouds generate very heavy convective snowfalls downwind of the water. Parts of northern Japan, most notably including Hijiori, had about 330cm (11 feet) of snow.

Meanwhile, owing to historic warmth in the Black Sea, Turkey has broken its all-time January temperature record by more than 4C. During the night of 13 January, 31.6C (89F) was recorded in Abana, driven by an extreme foehn wind; a dry, warm, downslope wind on the lee of a mountain range. On the same day, Sochi in Russia also rose to 24C (75F), another record January high.