19th July 2024
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Spain braces itself for scorching temperatures, more typical of summer

Scorching temperatures in Spain are set to break records for April, with a week of unprecedented heat on its way that also brings further concerns over the country’s water reserves and warnings of wildfires.

Spain’s national weather service said temperatures would ‘reach values typical of summer’ across most of the country, with a high of 38C forecast on Thursday for the southern Guadalquivir Valley.

As people in the country sweltered with a long weekend coming up (1 May being a public holiday), Spanish media reported that the Health Ministry would consider implementing a heat prevention plan two weeks early to help regions respond to the effects of the unseasonably warm weather.

Local authorities were making plans to open public swimming pools early and adapt school schedules, while meteorologists warned of the risk of wildfires.

The government of the central Madrid region on Monday announced an action plan, including allowing schools to adapt their timetables around peak temperatures and to ensure air conditioning at health centres.

Under the plan, Madrid’s many outdoor swimming pools will open a month earlier than usual, in mid-May.

The capital’s subway system is also set to increase air conditioning and make trains more frequent to avoid overcrowding.

In the hottest region of Spain, the southwestern city of Seville had boosted its emergency services budget and brought in extra healthcare worker numbers in case of heat exhaustion during the ‘Feria de Abril’ that last year attracted an estimated 500,000 revellers.

AEMET, Spain’s meteorological agency, said temperatures were ‘exceptionally high’ for April because of a mass of very warm and dry air coming from North Africa.

Last year was Spain’s hottest since record-keeping started in 1961, and also the country’s sixth driest despite the presence of weather phenomenon La Niña, which slightly dampened global average temperatures. ALSO READ: Confirmed: 2022 was Spain’s hottest year on record.

The Spanish government has requested emergency funds from the European Union to support farmers and ranchers amid extreme drought conditions in the country’s agricultural heartlands, including the Guadalquivir Valley. ALSO READ: Spain requests emergency funds from EU as drought hits farmers.

The world’s biggest exporter of olive oil, Spain is also an important producer of fruits and vegetables for the European market. The drought has already driven up prices of Spanish olive oil to record levels.

Currently, 27% of Spanish territory is classified as in a drought ’emergency’ or ‘alert’, according to the Ecological Transition Ministry, and water reserves are at 50% of capacity nationally.

ALSO READ: Drought in Spain and across Europe could be the ‘worst in 500 years’.

ALSO READ: Spanish government vows to block farming near threatened wetlands.

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