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WEATHER

New heatwave to hit Spain on Friday

Fresh spell of hot weather not expected to let up until late next week, says weather agency

People trying to keep cool in Madrid's Sol Square on June 26.
People trying to keep cool in Madrid's Sol Square on June 26. EL PAÍS

It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire: the Spanish Meteorology Agency (AEMET) is warning about a fresh new heatwave that is due to hit Spain on Friday.

Not only that, but this one is also going to last longer than the current spell of remarkably hot weather, warns AEMET spokeswoman Ana Casals.

“We won’t get a breather until late next week,” she said.

Heatwaves are among the most dangerous of natural hazards, but rarely receive adequate attention”

United Nations report 'Heatwaves and Health'

For the moment, 27 provinces are on alert for high temperatures this Friday. In Álava, Guipúzcoa, Zaragoza, Madrid, Jaén, Albacete and Ciudad Real the warning level is orange, meaning “significant risk.”

Casals said the new heatwave is expected to affect most of the peninsula, except for the northwest region.

“It is not normal to have two back-to-back heatwaves,” she added. The current hot spell began last weekend and formally ended on Wednesday, although any respite has barely been noticeable.

The Iberian peninsula is not the only part of Europe feeling the heat. Sixteen countries are on alert, and European meteorology authorities said that the weather conditions will be particularly dangerous in Switzerland and Poland.

Since 1975, the AEMET has registered 80 heatwaves, for an average of two a year. But climate change makes it likely that there will be a higher incidence in future, scientists warn.

In a new report called Heatwaves and Health presented on Wednesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), two United Nations agencies, researchers underscored the importance of national warning systems to mitigate the effects of this weather event.

“Heatwaves are among the most dangerous of natural hazards, but rarely receive adequate attention,” says the report. “There is increasing recognition that heat-related risks might be reduced through systematic development of heatwave early-warning systems, alerting decision-makers and the general public to impending dangerous hot weather.”

Although there is no universally accepted definition for what constitutes a heatwave, these agencies define them as “periods of unusually hot and dry or hot and humid weather that have a subtle onset and cessation, a duration of at least two to three days, usually with a discernible impact on human and natural systems.”