Spain is frying. Temperatures this week could reach a record high of 40 degrees Celsius, already surpassing 36 degrees on Tuesday. In response to the heat, the authorities decided to open public swimming pools earlier. In Seville, an additional number of health workers have been put on standby. Experts warn that the heat increases the risk of wildfires in an already drought-ridden country.
In many places in south-eastern Spain on Tuesday the temperature exceeded 30 degrees Celsius, and in some places it exceeded the 35-degree mark. The hottest cities were Xàtiva and Carcaixent in the province of Valencia, which recorded 36.2 degrees C, the national meteorological institution AEMET reported on Twitter.
There may be a record
Forecasts indicate that the heat will be even greater. As reported, the temperature this week is expected to be “typical of summer”, reaching up to 38 and even up to 40 degrees C in the Guadalquivir river valley, including in Córdoba. If these predictions come true, it will be the highest temperature recorded in April in Spain since records began in 1961. The previous heat record for this month is 37.4 degrees Celsius measured in Murcia in 2011.
As the TVN24 presenter Tomasz Wasilewski pointed out on TVN24, “this is absolutely unusual heat even for Spain at this time of year”. “It’s only April,” he said. “It is likely that today in southern and eastern Spain the national April heat records will be broken,” he predicted.
Wasilewski explained that the influx of such hot air caused a low located west of the British Isles. “The gateway to the influx of very hot Saharan air has opened over the Iberian Peninsula,” he said.
Pools open earlier, more health workers
Due to the extremely high temperatures, local authorities decided to open public swimming pools early and reorganize school schedules.
The city of Seville, located in the hottest region of Spain, has increased the budget of the emergency services and brought in additional health workers, fearing an increase in the number of cases of heatstroke.
The coming months will be “complicated”
Spain experienced 36 consecutive months with below-average precipitation. Water reservoirs are at 50 percent capacity – slightly more than last year, but still below the last decade’s average. In response to the drought, the government has announced tax breaks for farmers whose crops have been depleted. The president of the autonomous government of Catalonia, Pere Aragones, said that in and around Barcelona people are struggling with one of the “worst droughts in 50 years”.
As a result of the heat, large parts of the country will be at high or extreme risk of fires. Already in mid-April, a large vegetation fire broke out on the border between France and Spain, burning about a thousand hectares.
Environment Minister Teresa Ribera said the coming months in Spain were likely to be “complicated”. – Apart from extreme episodes like this, May, June and July are likely to have above average rainfall. Given that they have been well below average in recent months, this would lead to a worrying scenario, she added.