The image most people will conjure up when you mention the south of Spain or the Costa del Sol is one of lying by the pool with the warm summer sun beating down. How different things have been over the last few days!

Low pressure has brought stormy conditions to the south of the country with strong winds, heavy rain, snow and low temperatures.

A ship ran aground on a Spanish beach in stormy seas on Sunday, spilling fuel onto a protected beach near Gibraltar. It was pushed onto the beach by strong winds which gusted over 70mph around the southern coast.

The stormy seas lashed waves on the Costa del Sol flooding many of the near-by towns and villages, including Torre del Mar, which is also close to the resorts of Cajiz and Benalmadena.

Meanwhile further inland it was not the wind that caused chaos this weekend, but snow. There were several inches lying in the Granada region on Saturday morning, while the residents in the city of Murcia awoke to a thick blanket of snow, which measured up to over half a metre.

Temperatures over the weekend dipped bringing a real chill to most of the country. A minimum of 1C was reported at Malaga on Saturday night while the northern town of Fuenterrabia shivered in temperatures as low as (-9C), very close to the record low of (-10C). The average minimum temperature for this area is around 6 to 7C.

The stormy weather was not just restricted to the mainland but also affected the Canary Islands, with the island of El Herrio worst hit by heavy rain. The president of the island has described it as the worst natural disaster in its history. Many people were evacuated from their homes as floodwaters filled the streets and cut off some areas completely.

Elsewhere the torrential rain weakened a wall which collapsed onto cars in a car park in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria forcing a nearby building to be evacuated.