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WEATHER

Will Spain’s third heatwave be as bad as the last one?

Spain has already faced two scorching heatwaves so far this spring and summer, but with meteorologists predicting a possible third in the coming days, could it be as bad as July's?

Will Spain's third heatwave be as bad as the last one?
A street thermometer reads 48C in Seville during Spain's first heatwave of the year in June 2022. These thermometers are renowned for not always being completely accurate as they're usually dark, made of metal and in direct sunlight for hours, but it certainly showcases how hot it got in Spain before summer had officially began. Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP

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.

READ ALSO: Are Spain’s wildfires a risk to people’s health?

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.

READ ALSO: How much does it cost to have air-conditioning at home in Spain?

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. 

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.

READ ALSO: Ceiling fan vs air con in Spain: Which offers the better price-coolness ratio?

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.
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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.

Member comments

  1. In some earlier articles you mentioned leaving windows open at night. Good idea, but please make sure you have efficient fly/mosquito screens at the windows so that you are not at the mercy of the mozzies, moscas negras etc. My husband neglected to do this when he first came to Spain and slept with the balcon open to the stars; he was unrecognisable the next morning, his face etc (and I mean etcetera!) were so swollen and not in a good way!
    Also, the moths! Our village is nicknamed Velilla de potilla because we get plagues of moths. (Ribero Bajo de Aragon)

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WILDFIRES

Hundreds evacuated as Spain battles wildfires in northwest

Spanish firefighters on Saturday struggled to contain wildfires that have ravaged large tracts in the northwest, as a third summer heat wave grips the country.

Hundreds evacuated as Spain battles wildfires in northwest

Firefighters were battling six blazes in Galicia that have scorched nearly 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres).

Some 700 people have been evacuated from the area around Boiro, where a blaze broke out on Thursday, according to regional officials.

But no casualties have been reported so far.

“The situation remains complicated. Helicopters are not enough to control all of the homes,” the mayor of neighbouring A Pobra do Caraminal, Xose Lois Pinero, wrote on Facebook.

Near the town of Verin, by the border with Portugal, authorities were managing to contain a fire that started Wednesday and is suspected to have been arson, Galicia government said.

Temperatures hit a 40.9 degrees Celsius (105.62 Fahrenheit) high on Thursday, according to the national weather agency. They have eased since, but were expected to remain around 35C across much of the country on Saturday.

Scientists say human-induced climate change is making extreme weather events including heatwaves and droughts more frequent and more intense. They in turn increase the risk of fires, which emit climate heating greenhouse
gases.

Spain has faced 366 wildfires since the start of the year, fuelled by scorching temperatures and drought conditions.

The flames have destroyed more than 233,000 hectares, more than in any other nation in Europe, according to the European Union’s satellite monitoring service EFFIS.

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