Spain braced for record April temperatures
Spain recorded its hottest ever temperature for April on Thursday, hitting 38.7C according to the country’s meteorological service.
The record figure was reached in Cordoba airport in southern Spain just after 17:00 local time (16:00 BST).
For days, a blistering heatwave has hit the country with temperatures 10-15C warmer than expected for April.
It’s been driven by a mass of very hot air from Africa, coupled with a slow moving weather system.
“This is not normal. Temperatures are completely out of control this year,” Cayetano Torres, a spokesman for Spain’s meteorological office, told BBC News. Experts were surprised by the scale of the heat experienced across southern Spain in recent days.
“This heat event in Spain is absolutely extreme, unprecedented with temperatures never seen before in April. In some locations, records are being beaten by a 5C margin, which is something that has happened only a handful of times at weather stations around the world,” said Maximiliano Herrera, a climatologist.
Schools will be allowed to adapt their timetables to avoid the worst of the heat. The Madrid underground has trains passing more frequently than usual in order to prevent long waits on the platform, and public swimming pools are expected to open a month earlier than normal.
Cristina Linares, a scientist at the Carlos III Health Institute, warned in particular of the impact on the poor.
“Poverty is the key factor when it comes to explaining why there are more deaths associated with extreme temperatures. Income is the factor with the closest link to the impact of heat on day-to-day deaths.”
Heat waves are also striking many locations globally as climate change exacerbates naturally high temperatures.
While parts of Britain are cooler than average right now, the opposite is the case in many regions of Spain.
Meteorologists say that a combination of factors is responsible for the exceptional temperatures being seen there this week.
Hot weather across North Africa is pushing heat into Europe. A high pressure weather system plus clear skies over the Iberian Peninsula are allowing more sunshine to hit the ground, which is already so dry it can’t evaporate the heat. -BBC