BILBAO, Spain – Northern regions of Spain were blanketed in fresh snow on Wednesday as a cold snap from Siberia continued its westward sweep of Europe, leaving wintry, and occasionally treacherous, conditions in its wake.
The Basque region and Navarre did not escape the icy grip of the so-called “beast from the east,” an Arctic cold snap that has prompted severe weather warnings for plummeting temperatures, snowstorms and gelid conditions in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy.
One death has been recorded as a result of the adverse weather in Spain after a 65-year-old man slipped and hit his head on an icy sidewalk in a southern suburb of Bilbao, in the Basque region, according to local emergency services.
Spain’s meteorological service Aemet issued amber alerts and urged citizens to take precautions in mountainous regions of northern Spain, including the Basque region, Navarre, La Rioja, Aragon and Catalonia, amid reports of heavy snowfall and travel disruptions.
Similar warnings were issued for Galicia and Castile and Leon, while more central and southerly regions, including the capital Madrid, were to instead to experience overcast conditions and rain.
A dump of fresh now in Aragon forced the closure of a section of the AP-2 highway, one of the main arteries connecting the city of Zaragoza, while 57 incidents of congested traffic were reported elsewhere in the region.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was forced to cancel a visit to La Rioja’s capital Logroño due to the snow.
Others were able to enjoy the wintry scenes in photogenic cities such as San Sebastian and Bilbao where, outside the world-famous Guggenheim, Jeff Koons’ flowery West Highland terrier sculpture Puppy looked decidedly unimpressed with the layer of snow that settled on his head overnight.