The snowfalls caused by the cold drop that has affected the Canary Islands since Tuesday have covered large areas with a white blanket of Teide National Park and have left temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. Before the formation of ice sheets up to five centimeters thick on the roads to the top of Tenerife, the Cabildo closed yesterday from early in the morning and until 5:00 p.m. the accesses through La Esperanza (TF-24) and La Orotava (TF-21), the ones that Tenerife residents use the most to enjoy the snow. They reopened in the afternoon after the cleaning work carried out by the staff of the Insular Corporation.
It is foreseeable that today in the morning there may be new cuts in these two accesses or the one from the South, by the municipality of Vilaflor, if, as foreseen by the State Meteorological Agency in the Canary Islands (Aemet), there are new frosts at dawn. The insular area of Highways asks the population to follow their official profiles on social networks to find out in real time the status of the roads of these three accesses to the most visited National Park in Spain.
The Cabildo de Tenerife rules out mounting the snowfall operation for now and the consequent circuit of buses –as has been done on other occasions– for this weekend due to the level 4 of sanitary restrictions in which Tenerife is located due to the covid-19 pandemic. Hence, the island president, Pedro Martín, asked the population to avoid crowds that can cause retention on the roads of the summit. Martín recalled that if 1,500 vehicles coincide on any of the three roads, collapses will form that can have consequences for the occupants of the vehicles due to the low temperatures at the top of Tenerife. Yesterday the minimum temperature was -2.3 degrees Celsius, recorded by the Izaña Meteorological Observatory, in the Teide National Park.
The president of the Cabildo reduces the effectiveness of the solution of a line of buses within the protected area. “Users can accumulate late in the day. We have verified that it does not work”, he assured, to add that “it is also not possible to insert the shovels to widen the car parks”, especially given the restrictions imposed by the national parks for environmental protection. “There will hardly be an ideal solution, since the Las Cañadas highway has the capacity it has and from 1,500 vehicles it collapses», apart from the fact that “works cannot be done” to widen the parking areas. That is why he asks the islanders for “prudence” and “always stay informed through official channels.” Tomás García, insular director of Highways, clarified that “the restrictions imposed by the health pandemic make it unfeasible to take measures that favor the concentration of people” such as the snowfall operation that has been mounted in previous years.
After the snowfall on Tuesday and Wednesday, yesterday morning the flakes reappeared from 2,000 meters but with less intensity. The white blanket of Teide could be seen –in the few moments in which the sky cleared– from many points on the Island. The tail of the cold drop – also known as DANA, an acronym that corresponds to isolated depression at high levels – will continue to leave clouds and precipitation today. It will not be until Saturday when the sky begins to clear, when Meteorology predicts that the haze coming from Africa will return to the Islands and that temperatures will rise.
The main rainfall forecast for today will affect the summits of La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, areas where the Aemet maintains the yellow notices for today. They can also occur at the Tenerife summit, although with less intensity than in previous days.
This icy weather comes after the first half of January marked by dust in suspension from the Sahara, higher temperatures than normal for this time of year, and low rainfall. The DANA that entered through the northeast of the Islands has turned the weather upside down with locally moderate rainfall on the coasts and midlands, and more important on the summits of Tenerife and La Palma, which occurred in the form of snow.