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“Extraordinary” heatwave in June breaks records across Spain

Seven weather stations recorded their highest ever temperatures while 26 saw their hottest days in history for the month

A woman walks in Lleida, which saw its highest temperature ever.
A woman walks in Lleida, which saw its highest temperature ever. EFE

The heatwave that swept across Spain at the end of June has set a number of historic records, just as experts had feared.

Although the arrival of the scorching conditions did not break the record for the hottest temperature in Spain or the hottest in June, it smashed the record in 33 monitoring stations in the country’s main network.

It is harder to break a heat record in Spain than in France and Germany because here the level is much higher

Meteorologist Mar Gómez

According to Rubén del Campo, the spokesperson for the state meteorological agency AEMET, seven weather stations recorded their highest ever temperatures and 26 saw their hottest days in history for the month.

In some cases, the record was broken multiple times during the heatwave. The Catalan city of Lleida, for instance, “broke its monthly record twice, and annual record another two times,” said Del Campo. During the heatwave, the city experienced highs of 41ºC, 41.2ºC, 43.1ºC and 43.4ºC – smashing the previous monthly record of 40.6ºC and the annual record of 43.1ºC.

The Retiro measuring station in Madrid also saw its hottest temperatures since it began keeping records in 1920. Up until now, the top temperature was 40.6ºC, which was recorded in August 2012. But on June 28, the station saw the thermometers rise to 40.7ºC. “Given the values are very high, the records tend to be broken by a few decimal points,” explained Del Campo, who said it was “extraordinary” that some records were smashed by as much as 3ºC during the heatwave.

A group of people wait in the shade in Seville during the heatwave.
A group of people wait in the shade in Seville during the heatwave.

As well as Lleida and Madrid Retiro, the monitoring stations in Burgos, Girona, Torrejón (Madrid), the Navacerrada (Madrid) mountains and Calamocha (Teruel) also saw their hottest temperature on record.

Meanwhile, Cuenca, Ávila, Bilbao, Valladolid, Salamanca, Barcelona, Granada, Zaragoza, Pamplona and Toledo were among 26 cities that recorded their top temperatures for the month of June.

Spain recorded its highest temperature ever in July 2017, when the thermometer in Córdoba soared to 46.9ºC

Another 13 stations saw their highest-ever minimum temperatures for the month, two of which broke the all-time record. In Segovia, a city in the northern Castilla y León region, the thermometer did not fall below 25.9ºC on June 29, almost a degree higher than its previous record, said Del Campo.

Spain recorded its highest temperature ever in July 2017, when thermometers in Córdoba soared to 46.9ºC. The hottest temperature for June was recorded in 1965 at the monitoring station at Seville airport, when the temperature reached 45.2ºC. Both records were set during a heatwave, said Del Campo.

Last month’s heatwave fell short of these records, with the temperature peaking at 43.4ºC on June 29 in Lleida. But the weather phenomenon did see the hottest temperature ever in France, and the hottest for June for Germany, where they topped 45.9ºC and 38.9ºC, respectively.

“It is harder to break a heat record in Spain than in France and Germany because here the level is much higher,” explained Mar Gómez, a meteorologist for Spanish weather website eltiempo.es.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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