Just when it seemed the weather couldn’t possibly get any weirder.. it did. It snowed in the mountains of Guadarrama in mid-February, not copiously but enough to leave a white blanket of 30-40cm in some expositions. For example, the northern slopes of Siete Picos, transformed into a magical Winter wonderland.
Well, what’s so weird about that? – you may well ask. Normally when snow falls in the Sierra, it’s because of a storm front coming in from the West, from the Atlantic. Storm fronts from the SouthWest usually bring more rain than snow but sometimes leave snow above 2000m. Storm fronts coming from the North – and sometimes even from the NorthEast – rarely bring much precipitation of any kind to the Central System of mountains. The weird bit is that in recent weeks there has been no storm front at all. From a barometric point of view the only weather to be expected was sunshine and mainly blue skies. In Cercedilla, even while the snowflakes were swirling down, atmospheric pressure remained quite high at “good weather” levels. The anticyclone in the Atlantic to the NorthWest of Spain continued to dominate the Peninsula, unrelenting. And yet.. it snowed.
February 28 update: As soon as the temperatures rose, the relatively meagre snow-cover quickly began to disappear from South-facing slopes and diminish generally on all aspects. At the end of February this leaves us with the nightmarish scenario of three months of “Winter” and not a single Atlantic storm in all that time. Looks like Guadarrama is going to set new records for drought in 2012..