Fourth heatwave is approaching Spain with record temperatures again

by Lorraine Williamson
record temperatures

MADRID – This time the news does not come from weather forecaster Jorge Rey, but from an official source that is based on scientific data. The Spanish weather agency Aemet reports the arrival of a new heatwave in Spain with record temperatures expected. 

It will be the fourth heatwave of this summer after the seven-day heatwave that ravaged the country and its people with stifling temperatures a week ago. Once again, the weather bureau predicts that temperatures will be significantly higher than normal for the time of year. Now that people in a large part of the country are enjoying pleasant summer weather, it is going to get a lot hotter once again. 

Heaviest temperatures early next week 

Experts point to the emergence of two high-pressure areas over Europe and the US with record-breaking geopotentials. For Spain, this means a new heatwave that will arrive on Sunday and will be the most intense early next week. The high temperatures will be first in the north of Spain with temperatures around 38ºC in cities such as Bilbao and Pamplona, where the normal temperature this time of year is around 25ºC. 

Stagnant jet stream patterns 

The climate phenomenon that led to unprecedented heatwaves in East Asia and Northern Europe in the summer of 2018, as well as historic fires in California, Washington and Japan, appears to be returning. This phenomenon is characterised by “highly amplified and stagnant jet stream patterns” that can result in long-lasting heatwaves. 

The core of this phenomenon is that normally dynamic atmospheric motions transition into near-stationary structures that can persist for weeks. As a result, periods of heat or rain that would normally only last a few days can turn into weeks-long events with all the associated problems. 

While it’s still unclear whether this exact pattern will unfold next week, as it’s a relatively new and evolving phenomenon, the omens aren’t favourable, according to the meteorologists. 

Record temperatures during the third heatwave 

The month of August has already brought record-breaking temperatures. The third heatwave of the summer resulted in the highest temperatures in 70 years. Moreover, Aemet warns in a new press release that what’s to come could be “worrying.” 

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High temperatures in almost the entire country from the weekend 

“In the coming days, temperatures will be high, especially in the eastern part of the peninsula and in the Balearic Islands. But from the weekend, the heat will intensify and spread over most of the country. We are facing a new heatwave with exceptionally high temperatures for this time of year,” the meteorological agency’s social media channels said. 

Also see: Spanish weather forecaster foresees ‘potential historical shift’ 

Current models suggest remarkably high temperatures for most of the country. A change in the weather could begin from Wednesday, with a drop in temperatures and an increase in instability,” predicts Aemet spokesperson Ruben del Campo. 

“By the end of next week, it could cool down and we will have maxima below 20ºC, especially in parts of the north of the peninsula.” Del Campo does indicate that we will have to wait to confirm it. 

Extreme risk of wildfires 

This combination of persistent heat, lack of rain and variable wind strengths also increases the risk of major wildfires, as we have seen in other parts of the Mediterranean. The forest fire service is currently battling the fire in Tenerife, which has already destroyed almost 2,000 hectares. 



Due to the persistent heat, the water reserves are also drying up more and more. This is forcing authorities to take restrictive measures in many municipalities in the east and south of the country. Especially in Andalucia and Catalonia, water restrictions affect large parts of the population. 

Also see: Spanish weather agency confirms: Clear increase in the number of heatwaves in Spain 

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