Record number of heat victims in Spain before the start of the hottest month

by Lorraine Williamson
heat victims

MADRID – The high temperatures in Spain have caused many deaths in June and July. In those two months alone, 2,823 people died. That is more heat victims than ever during the three summer months of June, July and August combined. Meanwhile August has only just begun. 

The figures come from the July 27 MoMo report from the Spanish Ministry of Health. It states how many people have died from extreme temperatures, heat or cold. Although the figures will only be finalised in a few weeks, they already give a good picture. 

Has July been the deadliest month ever? 

The year 2022 breaks all records. The death rate from extreme temperatures in the period 1 to 27 July stood at 1,993 people. That is already the deadliest month on record in terms of heat victims. Furthermore, that number is already close to the record number of deaths from extreme temperatures in one month; in January 2021, 2,019 people died from cold. That was the month the storm Filomena crossed over Spain. If it turns out that 27 people or more will have died in the last four days of July, that record has also been broken. Normally the cold kills more than the heat. However, this now seems to be changing. 

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The hottest summer month starts today 

The seriousness of the situation can be accurately estimated on the basis of a comparison with previous years. The total number of deaths from the heat in the three summer months combined (June, July and August) from 2015 to 2021 was as follows: 2,423, 1,638, 2,767, 1,543, 1,592, 1,479 and 1,393. This year, with 2,823 deaths in June and July alone, it was already above those numbers. Therefore, it remains to be seen what August brings. 

Third heatwave approaching 

There is a good chance that the third heatwave of this summer season will start this week. Temperatures have been rising again since Sunday and are expected to continue to do so until next Thursday. Maximum temperatures are expected to be 5 to 10 degrees higher than normal in much of the country by then. Ruben del Campo, spokesman for the Spanish weather agency AEMET said this on Monday. 

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