The seven stats that show the true ‘hell’ of Spain’s June heatwave

The heatwave that swept across Spain last week brought record-breaking temperatures for June and reveals a worrying trend.

The seven stats that show the true 'hell' of Spain's June heatwave
An image shows the heatwave spreading across Europe. Photo: AEMET

Before it hit,  one RTVE meteorologist warned “helli is coming”, but how hot did it really turn out to be? 

Spain's state meteorological agency AEMET released a report analysing data recorded last week at its weather stations positioned across Spain.

According to AEMET, a heat wave can only be called a heatwave rather than just hot temperatures when three conditions are met; extreme temperatures up to 5 percent higher than the maximum temperatures, affecting 10 percent of weather monitoring stations in the country, and which lasts at least three days.

To show you the true extent of the extreme weather and what it means, we pulled out some of the more powerful numbers. 


At least four people died during the heatwave at the end of June in Spain.  The death toll included a 17-year-old who died after falling into a coma while working in the fields near Cordoba . Another farm worker, this one aged 66,  died near Seville while two elderly people died in the north.

An 93-year-old man dropped dead in the street in Valladolid and a 90 year old  woman perished in Logroño in La Rioja.


The number of weather stations across Spain that measured the hottest temperatures ever recorded in June.


Photo: AFP

Of those 33 weather stations with record breaking temperatures for June, seven of them recorded the highest EVER temperatures.

The weather station in Madrid’s Retiro Park saw the highest temperature since records began in 1920 when on June 28 the mercury tipped 40.7, beating the previous record of 40.6 recorded in August 2012.

Meanwhile the Catalan city of Lleida recorded a maximum of 43.4, the highest temperature ever recorded in there.

Other record breakers included weather stations in Burgos, Girona, Torrejón (Madrid), the Navacerrada (Madrid) mountains and Calamocha (Teruel)


The highest temperature recorded during the heatwave, which lasted from June 26 to June 30, was in fact that on Lleida. It fell short of breaking the national record of 46.9C which was recorded in July 2017 in Cordoba.


The number of heatwaves recorded so far this century. AEMET said that heatwaves were becoming more common. There have been 31 since the year 2000 including the one last week compared to the 27 recorded in the last quarter of the 20 century from 1975 to 1999.


The number of hectares destroyed in forest fires sparked during the heatwave. The biggest occurred in Tarragona when a pile of manure stored at a chicken farm spontaneously combusted in the high temperatures destroying some 5,000 hectares before fighters brought it under control.

56.3 percent

Spain’s reservoirs are estimated to be filled at just 56.3 percent of capacity, 14 points below the average at this time of year as recorded over the last decade, putting Spain at severe risk of drought.


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Nearly 50C: Southern Spain set to sizzle in historic heatwave 

Spain’s first heatwave of the year will start this weekend with temperatures expected to near 50C in Andalusia, according to meteorologists. 

Nearly 50C: Southern Spain set to sizzle in historic heatwave 
Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

After a relatively mild June and a drop in temperatures in the northern half of the country on Tuesday and Wednesday, the customary calor of the summer is scheduled to land in most of Spain. 

Starting on Thursday July 8th, the mercury will start rising to reach the mid forties in parts of central and southern Spain by Saturday. 

By Sunday the whole southern half of Spain is expected to have to endure temperatures above 40C. 

The following map shared by French meteorologist Guillaume Séchet shows how the so-called ‘heat dome’ will mean temperatures of around 47C in Andalusian cities such as Seville, Huelva, Ecija and Jerez and in areas of the Castilla-La Mancha region.

This meteorological phenomenom is reported to have caused temperatures as high as 46C in Canada over the past days, reportedly leading to hundreds of deaths.

“It’s a desert heat — very dry and hot,” David Phillips, a senior climatologist for Environment Canada, told AFP.

“Canada is the second coldest country in the world and the snowiest,” he said. “We often see cold snaps and blizzards but not often do we talk about hot weather like this.”

Spain’s national weather agency AEMET recently warned that July, August and September this year will be hotter than average.

The highest temperature recorded in Spain was on July 13th 2017 in Montoro (Córdoba, Andalusia): 47.3 C. 

Yellow and orange alerts for temperatures above 30C have also been activated in Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Galicia, Murcia, the Basque Country, La Rioja, the Valencia region, the Canary Islands and Navarra for the upcoming weekend. 

But in Murcia, Andalusia and the Valencia region the temperatures on Tuesday are already in the high thirties. 

Fortunately, this scorching heatwave will not last too long, four days from Saturday to Tuesday.