Spain sizzles as heat wave sets in

Spain's meteorological agency has issued an alert in the face of the heat wave currently affecting a large swathe of the country, saying it could last up to 10 days in some areas.

Spain sizzles as heat wave sets in
File photo: Vasilios Sfinarolakis

After a cool spring, and talk that summer would not arrive in 2013, southern and central Spain are now experiencing soaring temperatures.

On Thursday, Spain's weather agency AEMET issued an alert saying temperatures could climb as high as 42 degrees in the interior of the south west of the country.

In areas including Castile and León, Galicia (except for the far north), and the Ebro Valley, temperatures could hit a slightly more bearable 34 to 38 degrees.

In the rest of the country, temperatures between 28 and 34 degrees are expected.

The Canary Islands, meanwhile, will see temperatures above 35 degrees from July 9th on.

With a high pressure system only slowing making its way north towards the British Isles, forecasters say it will be at least a week before relief comes .

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Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings

Nine Spanish regions were put on alert on Tuesday for heavy snow, rain and strong winds, with the country's traffic authorities calling for people taking holidays this long weekend to head home early to avoid the worst of the bad weather.

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings
Vehicles stuck in traffic due to a heavy snowfall near Burgos, northern Spain, in March 2021. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

Aragón, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country will be on orange alert from Tuesday for snow storms, while Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja and La Comunidad Valenciana are on the less-severe yellow alert, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) announced.

A slight increase in temperatures will increase the risk of avalanches in the Pyrenees and the central Cantabrian mountain range.

Some roads in the north of the country are already being affected by snow and are being restricted to some traffic such as trucks and heavy vehicles.

Spain’s traffic authority (DGT) called on residents in the northern half of the country to return early from the puente (long weekend) marked by the public holidays of December 6 and 8, ahead of heavy snow forecast for Wednesday.

Of the 108 main roads affected by the heavy snow in Spain, almost half of them are in the northeastern region Aragón.

Aragón, Catalonia and Navarra are at risk of avalanches, according to data from Aemet, while a storm warning has been issued for the coastal areas of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Catalonia and the Basque country.

Heavy rainfall is expected in Galicia, extending to Cantabria and the western Pyrenees.