Spain braces for unheard of heatwave of 'extraordinary intensity'
Off to Spain these next few days?
Weather forecasters warn that the country will have to brace for 'extreme temperatures' over the next week – in a heatwave usually unheard of this early in the season.
Spain's meteorological agency Aemet has predicted 'one of the hottest Mays in this country in recent years' – with temperatures in parts of Andalucía on the southern coast expected to reach a high of 42 or 43 C over the weekend.
Spokesperson Rubén del Campo explains that Saturday and Sunday are set to be the hottest days, but the entire eastern side of the country, as well as the Balearic islands, will remain much warmer than usual for the next week.
"For Spain as a whole, it could be the most intense May heatwave of the past 20 years in terms of both the maximum and minimum temperatures," del Campo explains, revealing that the country has activated its national plan for excess temperatures two weeks early as 'the summer is starting in the spring'.
He added: 'For Spain as a whole, it could be the most intense May heatwave of the past 20 years in terms of both the maximum and minimum temperatures.'
Normally the summer plan is activated between June and September, but the period for temperatures 'in the 30s' had 'arrived 20 - 40 days early.'
The heatwave, Aemet says, is caused by a mass of hot air coming from North Africa, and this is producing not only temperatures up to 15 degrees Celsius above the seasonal average, but also masses of dust in the air, coming in from the Sahara desert.
"This will be an extreme episode and the risk that comes with the high temperatures will be important in many areas,' del Campo said.
"Another thing to be aware of is dust in the air, which could lead to calimas in the south and east of the peninsula, with murky skies and reduced visibility."
The concentration of dust in the air across the peninsula and the Balearic islands will cause a decline in air quality.
The Spanish government has warned that people in affected areas that vulnerable people such as children, pregnant women, and older and chronically ill people will be at extra risk.