Córdoba sets new temperature record as heatwave continues in Spain

Weather service says the mercury may fall slightly in the south, but conditions will last until Sunday

Cooling off in 40ºC weather in Barbate, Cádiz.
Cooling off in 40ºC weather in Barbate, Cádiz.Juan Carlos Toro (EL PAÍS)

The heatwave affecting central, southern and eastern Spain produced a new record on Thursday afternoon, when an official weather station at Córdoba airport logged a temperature of 46.9ºC at 3.30pm. This is the highest figure recorded at this spot since the station was built, making Córdoba the Spanish capital with the highest temperature in Spain on Thursday. Another municipality in Córdoba province, Montoro, registered a high of 47.3ºC, making it the hottest village in Spain and the new hot weather record-holder since Spain started to keep track of weather events.

The AEMET state weather agency said that temperatures will ease up slightly on Friday, but did not expect the heatwave to officially end before Sunday.

The weather agency is forecasting a drop of between 1ºC and 3ºC in the south, but the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba are on a “red” heat advisory for the third day in a row, with temperatures that will reach over 44ºC. AEMET has also issued an “orange” warning in 13 other provinces, meaning conditions are slightly less hazardous to human health, for temperatures of 38ºC and over.

Córdoba is set to hold the heat record once again with an expected high of 45.7ºC, followed by 46.4ºC in Andújar (Jaén), 44.2ºC in Écija (Seville) and 44.7ºC in Linares (Jaén). These temperatures are 7ºC to 11ºC hotter than average for this time of the year at these locations.

A young man cools off at a fountain in downtown Córdoba, which was the hottest city in Spain on Thursday.
A young man cools off at a fountain in downtown Córdoba, which was the hottest city in Spain on Thursday.Salas (EFE)

Meanwhile, the provinces of Granada, Huelva, Seville, Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Toledo, Ávila, Salamanca, Madrid, Badajoz and Cáceres are on an orange heat advisory, while Cádiz, Málaga, Huesca, Teruel, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lleida, Valencia and Segovia are on the lowest heat alert, yellow.

AEMET said that northern Spain would start feeling the heat over the weekend. “For now, the temperature rise in the north will not reach heatwave levels, but could eventually,” said agency spokeswoman Delia Gutiérrez.

The relentless heat will ease up notably in the south on Saturday, but eight provinces will remain on orange heat warnings. That number will go down to five on Sunday.

Past records

According to a study from AEMET, which covers all of the heatwaves in the country between 1976 and June 2017, temperatures above 46ºC have rarely been seen in Spain. Temperatures exceeding 45ºC have been registered on five occasions, including at Córdoba airport in the summer of 2015, and in 2012 when 45.9ºC was reached at Seville airport.

However, the maximum temperature ever recorded in Spain was not actually during a heatwave: on July 23, 1995 the heat at Córdoba airport hit 46.6ºC.

The longest heatwave on record took place in 2015 and lasted 26 days.

English version by Susana Urra.

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