Spain braces for more extreme heat after heavy storms and hail

Despite some respite following a record-breaking heatwave, scorching temperatures will return to Spain this weekend after five regions experienced heavy storms with up to 40 litres/sqm of rainfall and hail on Thursday. 

Spain braces for more extreme heat after heavy storms and hail
Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

After a weeklong heatwave that saw most of mainland Spain and its islands sizzle in temperatures above 40°C, the stifling weather has subsided for a couple of days.

However, it’s not the end of the extreme heat for this summer in Spain, with temperatures set to rise again across much of the country on Friday August 20th. 

As usual, southern Spain will bear the brunt of la calor (the heat), with temperatures forecast to be around 40C in Badajoz, Seville, Granada and Córdoba, the latter recording the highest temperature ever in Spain, 47.4°C on August 15th. 

The mercury will also rise considerably in the northern regions of Navarre and the Basque Country, while the milder weather will continue in Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria, the only regions to escape Spain’s heatwave.

Temperatures across Spain on Friday August 20th. Source: AEMET

Temperatures will continue in the mid to high thirties in the Canary Islands, where the scorching heat arrived later than to mainland Spain but has not stopped since. 

Catalonia, Aragón and the Valencia region were on orange alert on Thursday for heavy storms that brought as much as 40 litres per square metre, according to Spain’s national weather agency AEMET.

In the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Valencia, Castellón, Lleida and Teruel, the bad weather was accompanied by strong gusts of wind, large hail balls and up to 20 litres/sqm of rainfall in an hour.  

Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia were also on yellow alert for risk of heavy storms and hail.

This spell of high temperatures across Spain is expected to last until Monday August 23rd.

The risk of forest fires continues to be high after a week which saw blazes in the Canary Islands, La Rioja, Aragón and Castilla y León. 

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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.