On January 12, 2021, the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite (see notes 1) captured this amazing photo of Spain under a snow blanket.

Spain under a snow blanket
Spain under a snow blanket. This satellite image, captured on 12 January 2021 at 11:40 CET, shows how much of the country is still facing hazardous conditions following the snow that fell at the weekend – the heaviest snowfall the country has had in five decades. Image source: European Space Agency website

According to the European Space Agency data, the temperature plunged to -25°C (-13°F) in Molina de Aragón (see notes 1) and Teruel (see notes 2), in mountains east of Madrid – Spain’s coldest night for at least 20 years.

Spain under a snow blanket

The heavy snowfall that hit Spain a few days ago still lies heavy across much of the country as the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite image above shows.

Storm Filomena hit Spain over the weekend, covering a large part of the country in thick snow. Madrid one of the worst affected areas (see the satellite image below), was brought to a standstill with the airport having to be closed, trains canceled and roads blocked.

People in central Spain are struggling as a deep freeze follows the heavy snow. Yesterday, the temperature plunged to -25°C in Molina de Aragón and Teruel, in mountains east of Madrid – Spain’s coldest night for at least 20 years.

Madrid under snow, from space
Madrid under snow, from space. Captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission on 11 January 2021 at 12:14 CET, this image of Madrid in Spain appears to have been taken in black and white. In fact, it is a true-color image – but the heaviest snowfall in 50 years has blanketed the region, turning the landscape white. Image: European Space Agency

Although the satellite image above was taken after the storm had passed, it is clear to see that much snow still remains, especially in the outskirts of the city. For example, some runways at the Madrid Barajas International Airport, which is visible in the top-right of the image, are still covered by snow.

The unusually cold weather on the Iberian Peninsula is expected to last until later this week with temperatures forecasted to plunge to -12°C (10.4°F). The race is on to clear roads so that supplies of essential goods such as food supplies and Covid vaccines can be delivered.


  1. Sentinel-3 is an Earth observation satellite constellation developed by the European Space Agency as part of the Copernicus Programme. It currently (as of 2020) consists of 2 satellites: Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B. Each satellite carries a suite of cutting-edge instruments to measure systematically Earth’s oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere to monitor and understand large-scale global dynamics. Two more satellites, Sentinel-3C and Sentinel-3D, are on order. Copernicus is the European Union’s Earth observation programme coordinated and managed by the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), the EU Member States, and EU agencies.
  2. Molina de Aragón is a municipality located in the province of Guadalajara, Castile-La Mancha, Spain.
  3. Teruel is a city in Aragon, located in eastern Spain, and is also the capital of Teruel Province.


M. Özgür Nevres
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