Hail on a car roof. Credit: Ben R

Spain hit by severe hailstorms twice in three days

1 July 2014 00:00 UTC–2 July 00:00 UTC and 3 July 09:15–14:15 UTC

Hail on a car roof. Credit: Ben R
Hail on a car roof. Credit: Ben R

Parts of Spain suffered 'wintry' conditions when severe hailstorms crossed the country in early July 2014.

Last Updated

06 September 2022

Published on

01 July 2014

By Ian Mills and José Prieto (EUMETSAT)

On the evening of 1 July severe thunderstorms over Iberia in Spain and parts of NW France caused flooding. On 3 July, over Madrid there were severe hailstorms, turning parts of the city white. In Almazan, in northern Spain, the thunderstorms lasted 45 minutes leaving homes and businesses flooded.

The enhanced infrared Meteosat-10 imagery shows storms developing from late morning on 1 July and reaching a peak during the evening.

The storm which developed south west of Barcelona was triggered by a combination of high surface temperatures — shown by the land in the area appearing as dark grey — and the high ground in the region of the Parc Natural de la Tinença de Benifassà.

The main development of the storm remained stationary from about 12:00 UTC before decaying around 17:00 UTC. During this period the anvil cirrus streamed away to the northeast in the upper winds.

In the day microphysics RGB imagery the light yellow colour shows the active area of this storm. To the northwest more storms were triggered later in the afternoon.

On the enhanced IR image a band of cirrus was visible indicating the remains of a cold front. This feature, along with the high surface temperatures and high ground, triggered the storms over northeast Spain and southwest France.

Meteosat-10, 01 July 2014, 15:00 UTC
Figure 1: Meteosat-10 Day Microphysics RGB, 1 July 15:00 UTC. Animation, 1 July 10:00–19:00 UTC
Meteosat-10, 02 July 2014, 00:00 UTC
Figure 2: Meteosat-10 Enhanced infrared, 2 July 00:00 UTC. Animation, 1 July 00:00 UTC–2 July 00:00 UTC
Spain hit by severe hailstorms twice in three days
Figure 3: Meteosat-10 HRV, 3 July.

Due to cyclonic circulation and widespread instability, several large thunderstorms produced spectacular lightning and severe hail in parts of central and north-eastern Spain on 3 July. Major roads and railways were interrupted for cleaning or due to landslides.

The Meteosat-10 HRV imagery from 3 July shows the hail episodes which covered main roads around Madrid, bringing a wintery experience in July, usually a hot month.

Download animation, 3 July 09:15 –14:15 UTC

Additional content

Hailstorm blocks roads in northern Spain (Liam Dutton's blog)
Holiday mood sinks in northern Spain as a level one flood alert is declared (Euronews)
Hailstorm turns Madrid white in July (El País)
Spain hail in July (Euro Weekly News)
Hailstorm in Béarn, France, 1 July (Photo credit: Mickael Morlans/Twitter)
Hail in Morella, Castellón, 1 July (Photo credit: @InfoMeteoTuit/Twitter)