- Spain experienced an unusual early heat wave on Friday.
- The heat wave produced temperatures of up to 15°C above the seasonal average.
- Residents are urged to drink plenty of water and reduce physical activity.
An unusually early heat wave sent extreme temperatures across much of Spain on Friday, putting the entire month of May on track to be the hottest this century.
The Spanish meteorological agency AEMET said the heat wave, caused by a mass of hot air from North Africa, has caused high temperatures of up to 15°C above the seasonal average.
The worst affected regions are Andalusia in the south, Extremadura in the southeast, Madrid and Castilla La Mancha in the center and Aragon in the northeast.
Temperatures are expected to reach 39°C (102 degrees Fahrenheit) in Zaragoza in the northeast, 38°C in Seville in the south and 34°C in Madrid, sweltering conditions that are more common in mid-summer than in summer. mid-May.
Heat waves have become more likely due to climate change, scientists say.
As global temperatures rise over time, heat waves are predicted to become more frequent and intense, and their effects will be widespread.
Spain’s health ministry urged residents to drink plenty of water, reduce physical activity and stay “as much as possible” in cool places.
Eric Solis, 32, who visited Madrid from the United States, said the heat was “a bit concerning” and “not so convenient for tourists”.
“I was expecting a little cooler, fresher weather,” he told AFP.
The southern city of Jaen registered 38.7°C on Thursday, the highest temperature for the month of May since 1883 and 15°C above the average for this time of year, AEMET spokesman Ruben del Campo said.
The month of May was “very warm, much more than usual,” he told AFP.
“In 2015, we had an exceptionally warm month of May, it broke all kinds of records and it seemed then that a similar situation could not be repeated. It has only been seven years,” he added.
Del Campo said the meteorological agency will have to wait until the end of the month to know if May is the hottest month of the 21st century.