Spain’s AEMET weather agency has said a third heatwave of the year ‘will affect a large part of the countries bordering the Mediterranean’ this week, with temperatures in some southern areas of Spain exceeding 42C.
‘In Spain we will have very high temperatures, unusual despite the fact that we are already in the warmest period of the year. In some points they could exceed 42-44C,’ the agency said. It also said that it expects temperatures to drop sometime on Wednesday.
The culprit is a high-pressure anticyclone dubbed Cerberus – the multi-headed dog from Greek mythology ‘that guards the gates to the underworld to stop the dead from leaving’.
Spokesman Rubén del Campo said that the anticyclone is pushing a hot mass of air from Africa towards Spain and other Mediterranean countries. The agency predicts that with the heat and very dry air, the risk of wildfires will skyrocket.
The UK government has issued a warning on its travel advice page for British tourists on holiday in Spain. The update said: ‘Extreme temperatures are currently affecting many areas of Spain. For severe weather warnings and updates, visit the Spanish Meteorological Office (AEMET) and European Meteorological Services website.’
Elsewhere in Spain, a wildfire that started on Saturday in the Puntagorda area on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands continued to burn out of control Monday, although authorities say weaker winds and cooler temperatures in the area are helping firefighters combat it. The blaze has burned some 4,600 hectares of mostly woody hill land and some 20 houses and buildings.
More than 4,000 residents were evacuated from their homes Saturday but were allowed to return as of late Sunday.
En los próximos días, una #OlaDeCalor afectará a buena parte de los países ribereños del Mediterráneo. En España tendremos temperaturas muy altas, poco habituales pese a encontrarnos ya en la canícula (período más cálido del año). En algunos puntos podrían superarse los 42-44 ºC. pic.twitter.com/1wzCRebzgl— AEMET (@AEMET_Esp) July 16, 2023
Durante toda la noche, militares de @UMEGob han estado vigilando con drones las llamas del #IFPuntagorda en La Palma, además de hacer tareas de ataque directo a las llamas y defensa de entornos urbanos forestales. 204 efectivos están desplegados en la isla para luchar contra el… pic.twitter.com/jD37ER3xuK— Ministerio Defensa (@Defensagob) July 17, 2023