Extraordinarily early heatwave in Spain peaks on Saturday

by Lorraine Williamson
heatwave Saturday

WEATHER – The earliest heatwave in Spain’s history started on Thursday and is expected to peak on Saturday. On Friday it was already more than 40ºC in various parts of the country. 

Heatwave in Spain peaks on Saturday

This applied to the interior of Andalucia, the south of the Madrid region, and the Ebro Valley. The official temperatures were close to 40 degrees, but the perceived temperature in the sun was much higher. 

Aemet has been warning for days about this midsummer heat episode in May, which is not strictly speaking a heatwave, but is already the most intense May heat episode of the past 20 years.

Action plan

The Ministry of Health has activated the action plan against excessive temperatures. The various authorities should take into account that the thermometer will indicate above 42ª Celsius on Saturday 21 May. 

In anticipation of that temperature peak, it was already extremely hot in the southern half of the country. The data that Aemet collected on Thursday about the places with the highest temperatures are already known. 

Extreme temperatures

Of the ten most extreme temperatures recorded on Thursday, nine correspond to Andalucian cities and one to Ciudad Real. These ten places exceed 38 degrees. 

nederlandse orthopeed

Thursday Linares (Jaén) was the casserole of Spain. It was already 40 degrees here at 3.50 pm. The same temperature was recorded at 5 p.m. in Andújar, also in Jaén. In the capital of Córdoba it was 38.9 degrees at 17:50 and in Granda, 38.8 at 15:40. Also bordering 39 degrees it was in the city of Jaén at 5:10 PM, while in Bailén (Jaén) it became 38.5. 

Maximum temperatures

According to an analysis by Aemet, maximum temperatures on Thursday, May 19, were at least 7 degrees above normal values ​​for the time: “40 degrees were touched at points in the province of Jaén, whose capital reached a temperature maximum of 38.7 degrees. This figure is as much as 15 degrees higher than normal”. 

Ruben del Campo, the spokesman for Aemet, assured Cadena SER that “we are experiencing one of the strongest warm spells in May in 20 years”, and warned that the heat would be very intense both day and night. He went on to explain that until 1999, it was very rare to reach 40 degrees in the month of May; but with the advent of the 21st century, we have already spent four May months in which the 40 degrees have been reached or are almost reached. 

Spanish summers start earlier 

“The summers are gaining ground on the spring. In these years, summer starts almost a month earlier than in the 80s. This implies more and more extreme heatwaves. We can say that it was spring in January and February. March and April were the opposite with a lot of rain and cold. This year the transition was very abrupt.” 

The early heat is a result of a mass of very dry and warm air from Africa. From Sunday, its influence will be the first to diminish on the Atlantic side of Spain. Until then, these tips against the heat might help you. 

Also read: Earliest heatwave in history

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