Heatwave: Death toll in Spain rises to nine

Spain's death toll from a particularly virulent heatwave rose to nine, authorities said Tuesday, as the country suffers sky-high temperatures.

Heatwave: Death toll in Spain rises to nine
The hottest temperature recorded was in Extremadura at the weekend. Photo: AFP

A 66-year-old man who died on Sunday in the southwestern region of Extremadura near Portugal was found to have died of heat stroke, a spokesman for the regional health department told AFP.

A 75-year-old woman who died two days later also succumbed to heat stroke, he added.

This brings to nine the total of people to have died as a direct consequence of the heatwave.


Children cool down in a Madrid fountain. Photo: AFP

A 40-year-old German man who was on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage also died from heat stroke in Extremadura, as did an 81-year-old man.   

Parts of the region registered temperatures of 46C (111 degrees Fahrenheit) at the weekend.

Over in the northeast in Catalonia, three homeless men have died.   Two other men – a roadworker in his 40s and a 78-year-old pensioner tending to his vegetable garden – also passed away from heatstroke last week.

Temepratures have begun to cool across Spain as the state meteorological agency, (AEMET) said that the worst of the heatwave had passed. Only Cordoba and Seville remained on amber alert for high temperatures. While storm warnings were in place in parts of the Pyrenean region in Aragon and Catalonia.

Most of Spain was on red alert on Tuesday for severe risk of forest fires. 

A fire raged out of control on the outskirts of the town of Llutxent, in Valencia, where authorities evacuated 2,500 residents as they battled to contain the blaze. 

READ ALSO: How to avoid heatstroke when Spain starts to sizzle


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.