Hottest July ever: Spain sizzled in record month

Last month was Spain's hottest July on record, the country’s meteorological agency said on Thursday, confirming what many long-suffering Spaniards already suspected.

Hottest July ever: Spain sizzled in record month
People jump into the Guadalquivir river during a heatwave in Sevilla. Photo: AFP

A new Aemet weather summary for last month shows the average combined night and day temperature in Spain was 26.5C (79.7F). That is 2.5C warmer than usual, and above the 26.2C average experienced during the memorably hot summer of 2003.

The 26.5C benchmark also makes last month the hottest July since Spain overhauled its record-keeping systems in 1980.

The Aemet report shows average day time maximum temperatures were 2.8C higher than normal, while the mercury hit night time levels 2.2C above average.

The central and south-eastern parts of Spain saw the most extreme variations from the average as the scary-looking map below shows.

The red areas show those zones with the greatest temperature anomalies in July. Image: Aemet 

While the whole month may have felt warm to people outside of relatively cool areas such as Galicia and along the Cantabrian coast, there were actually three distinct heat waves.

Those periods saw temperatures higher than 45C in the Guadalquivir basin in Andalusia and in inland Valencia.

On July 6th, a baking Cordoba had to put up with 45.2C while Zaragoza airport sizzled with 44,5ºC on July 7th. Murcia notched up 43C on the same day.

SEE ALSO: Ten Spanish treats to keep you cool this summer

The coolest temperature for the month — apart from mountain stations — 8.3C on July 26th, which was registered at the appropriately named Villafría (or cold town) in the province of Burgos. 

Anyone hoping for a cool autumn as compensation for the blistering weeks of July, may be waiting in vain. In a long-range forecast that even Aemet admits has limitations, the agency says there is a 60 percent chance August to October will be warmer than average in most of the country.

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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.