As Spain moves into August, the stifling temperatures look set to stay.
Record temperatures have caused forest fires across the country, killed people by the hundreds, forced large swathes of the population to stay inside all day in order escape the heat, and ‘tropical nights’ have made sleeping incredibly uncomfortable.
But will these temperatures continue throughout August?
With unnaturally warm temperatures continuing over the last weekend in July, experts are now considering whether the duration and intensity of the latest round of scorching weather will be enough to qualify as Spain’s third official heatwave (ola de calor) of the summer and how long it will last.
With high temperatures predicted for the first week of August, if they continue further into the month, it is likely AEMET (Spain’s state meteorological agency) will declare a third heatwave, although, spokesman Rubén del Campo says it is looking likely to be “less intense and extreme than the previous two”.
For meteorologists to officially consider scorching weather to be a heatwave, the period of extreme heat must last at least three days and temperatures must exceed seasonal thresholds by 10 percent.
“It is possible that from last Sunday July 31st until at least Wednesday August 3rd or Thursday 4th, the thresholds of intensity, persistence and extension necessary to be able to catalog this episode as a heat wave will be exceeded,” the meteorologist added.
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According to AEMET forecasts, temperatures climbed on Monday August 2nd and Tuesday 3rd but will begin to decrease from Thursday.
High temperatures could continue for most of week, however. “In large areas of the interior of the northern half,” del Campo said, “and also in points in the centre and south, temperatures will be between 5C and 10C above normal for this time of year.”
One thing that won’t change, however, regardless of whether AEMET declares the heat an official heatwave, is the sweltering night temperatures.
#Previsión Julio se va dejando a su paso varias olas de calor. Con agosto a la vuelta de la esquina ¿Cuál es la previsión de este mes en cuanto a meteorología? Podría ser más cálido de lo normal en ciertas zonas. ¡Consulta la previsión aquí! 👇https://t.co/0JB95nR1B0 pic.twitter.com/7JmcEm5al8
— Eltiempo.es (@ElTiempoes) July 30, 2022
August temperature forecasts across Spain, showing the areas expected to be ‘warmer than normal’ (más cálido de lo normal), ‘slightly warmer than normal’ (ligeramente más cálido de lo normal) ‘quite a bit warmer than normal’ (bastante más cálido de lo normal) and ‘much warmer than normal’ (mucho más cálido de lo normal). Map: Eltiempo.es
The phenomenon of ‘tropical nights’, when temperatures stay above 20C during the night, have now become the norm up and down the Mediterranean coast and southern half of the country.
In some cases, temperatures through the night have hovered around 25C, making it very difficult to sleep or save on electricity bills.
Spain’s previous heatwaves in 2022
The first heatwave began early this year, back on June 11th, and lasted almost a full week (officially until June 18th) and was the earliest heatwave Spain had suffered in almost fifty years, affecting 38 provinces across the country.
Incredibly, in places in southern Spain like Jaén, a staggering 44.5C was recorded on June 17th – far earlier than expected and is normal.
In mid-July, however, the second heatwave was much more intense – the third longest in Spanish history and the most severe.
Temperature surpassing 40C spread across the country, affecting even the northernmost areas such as Galicia and Asturias, with the mercury touching 45C in the south, and killing over a thousand people.