Spain sizzles in hottest temperature on record

Spain sizzles in hottest temperature on record
Spain measures hottest temperature on record. Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP
Spain saw its highest temperature on record on Saturday as a heatwave on the Iberian peninsula drove the mercury to 47.4°C (117.3°F), according to provisional data from the state meteorological agency.

The temperature peaked around 5pm local time in the southern town of Córdoba, the agency said, passing the previous record set at the same measuring station in July 2017 by one-tenth of a degree.

“If confirmed, it would be the highest record reliably measured in Spain,” AEMET spokesman Ruben del Campo said.

Although temperatures are expected to ease in the coming days, several parts of the country, including the southern region of Andalucia and Murcia in the southeast, endured temperatures of over 45°C, Del Campo added.

That made this heatwave “probably one of the most intense experienced in Spain”, he said.

Climate scientists have repeatedly warned that manmade global warming will bring higher temperatures and more extreme weather events across the world.

European countries such as Greece and Turkey have already experienced heatwaves and wildfires this summer.

Between 2011 and 2020, Spain registered twice as many heatwaves as in the previous three decades, according to the agency.

In Spain on Sunday, five regions across the country were still on alert over extreme temperatures.

Increase in wildfires

Firefighters operate at the site of a wildfire between Navalacruz and Riofrio near Avila on August 16th. Photo: CESAR MANSO / AFP

The combination of the fierce heat and rise in suspended dust particles has also increased the fire risk, with the country remaining on high alert.

Fires in Spain’s central Avila province forced hundreds of people to flee their homes Sunday as parts of the country sweltered under crushing temperatures.

The fire, which has been burning in the city Navalcruz since Saturday morning, has been fed by winds of up to 70 kilometres an hour (54 miles per hour) across the Iberian peninsula.

It now has a perimeter of more than 40 kilometres and may already have burned more than 5,000 hectares (12,350 acres), said Jose Angel Arranz, forestry director of the Castilla y León region.

The authorities have already evacuated at least 600 people from five towns in the Avila district, near the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, and more than 500 firefighters are tackling the blaze with the help of specialised aircraft.

Around 80 kilometres to the south meanwhile, another fire, near El Raso, was still active. Like the one in Navalcruz, it is rated two on a three-point scale of seriousness.

The emergency services backed by 12 firefighting aircraft have also been fighting a blaze in Azuebar, eastern Spain, since Saturday, which has burned more than 500 hectares, the regional government in Valencia reported.

The blaze is also threatening part of the Sierra de Espadan Natural Park.

On Twitter, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez sent a message of solidarity to those forced to flee their homes.

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