New heatwave throughout Spain puts six provinces on orange alert

Temperatures rise in belt across the east and northeast of the country, along with the Balearics

Victoria Torres Benayas

Spain’s first heatwave of the summer continued unabated on Wednesday, with the Spanish weather agency, AEMET, warning of a “new spike” in temperatures in the eastern and northeastern third of the Iberian peninsula and the Balearic Islands, with a slight fall in the southeast of the country.

Tourists use umbrellas to keep the sun off in Madrid.
Tourists use umbrellas to keep the sun off in Madrid.Kike Para

The worst hotspots on Wednesday stretched from the Guadalquivir valley in Andalusia eastward across to the Ebro river, taking in Zaragoza, Lleida and the eastern edge of Navarre, where temperatures were expected to reach 40ºC.

The center of the country, the western region of Extremadura and Andalusia and Madrid, were not much better off, with temperatures above 38ºC.

Advice from Spain’s Health Ministry on how to avoid heat exhaustion

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Avoid sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol: they cause the body to lose water.
  • Take special care with babies, small children, the elderly, and people with illnesses such as heart problems that can be adversely affected by heat and dehydration.
  • Stay in cool places, the shade or air-conditioned spaces for as much time as possible and cool down frequently if out in the sun.
  • Avoid physical activity and outdoors sports and activities in the middle of the day.
  • Wear lightweight clothing that breathes.
  • Do not leave anybody in locked, parked vehicles, particularly children and the elderly, as well as pets.
  • Consult your doctor in case of symptoms that last more than one hour and that could be caused by high temperatures.
  • Keep medicines in a cool place: heat can affect their composition and their effect.
  • Eat light food that helps replace salts lost through perspiration: salads, fruit, greens, juices, etc.

As a result, 29 provinces have been put on alert, six of them on orange: Huesca, Teruel, Zaragoza, Lleida, Madrid and Navarre, with the remainder on yellow alert, including Córdoba, Granada, Jaén, Castilla-La Mancha, Ávila, Burgos, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid, Zamora, Catalonia, Valencia, Extremadura, the Balearics and La Rioja.

For the first time since Saturday, when summer kicked in with high temperatures throughout Spain, Tuesday produced two record breakers, albeit at the other end of the thermometer. In Zamora, the minimum temperature was 22.2ºC, the highest minimum for a June since records began in 1920. Meanwhile, in Salamanca, the minimum was 21.7ºC, the highest since 1940.

So far no records have been broken in terms of top temperatures, but AEMET noted 40.6ºC in Granada, which spokesman Rubén del Campo said was “10ºC higher than normal for the time of the year.”

And all this before Thursday’s special heatwave warning, which AEMET has extended to include the center of the country. This is the first heatwave of 2017, and comes a week ahead of the official arrival of summer.

Del Campo said that while temperatures will fall slightly in the north of the country, the west of Spain will see further temperature increases that will continue on Friday. The current heatwave will last until Sunday at the earliest.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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