Spain issued “severe” warnings of the danger of scorching temperatures in three regions on Tuesday as firefighters said a fire that had been burning for days in the Canary Islands was about to burn itself out.
Temperatures soared to 45.3 degrees Celsius (113.5 Fahrenheit) in Figueres, the hometown of Salvador Dali in the northeastern region of Catalonia, with the mercury hitting 43.7C in the Balearic Islands, the AEMET weather agency said.
Forecasters issued a red alert for extreme heat in both regions as well as in Aragon, also in the northeast, where they advised people to avoid the scorching sun during the hottest hours and stay well hydrated.
“We’ve passed the midpoint of July and, so far, almost every day has had above-normal temperatures. In fact, the first 17 days of July were the third warmest on record behind 2022 and 2015, ” AEMET tweeted.
Visiting Madrid from the southern city of Seville, Lidia Rodriguez, 27, admitted she was getting used to the heat but said the temperature in the Spanish capital was “suffocating”.
“You’re not on the streets, it’s terrible, terrible, terrible,” he told AFP.
The interior ministry said much of Spain faced a “very high” or “severe” risk of fires due to rising temperatures, which affected much of the Mediterranean.
Since Saturday, hundreds of firefighters in the Canary Islands have been battling a wildfire on the island of La Palma backed by nine water-carrying planes trying to extinguish the blaze burning in wooded, hilly terrain.
But cooler overnight temperatures and higher humidity levels helped firefighters win their battle against the blaze.
And on Tuesday night, the fire appeared to be “on its last legs” and close to “death”, Federico Grillo, one of the experts involved in fighting the fire wrote on Twitter.
The fire destroyed about 3,500 hectares (8,700 acres) of land, burned 20 houses and buildings and forced 4,000 residents to evacuate an island that two years ago was devastated by a three-month volcanic eruption.
Local authorities urged residents in several cities to stay indoors as much as possible, and to use face masks when outside, due to poor air quality caused by wildfires.
This is the third heatwave to hit Spain this summer. Scientists say heatwaves are becoming more likely due to climate change.
As global temperatures rise over time, heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and severe, and their effects more widespread.
“For the last five to 10 years, every year, it’s been hotter,” said 66-year-old Madrid resident Jose Luis Llamas.
“We must act. Every country must take steps to solve this problem,” he added.
© 2023 AFP
Citation: ‘Horrible’: Spain sweats day 2 of heatwave (2023, July 18) retrieved 18 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-horrible-spain-day-heatwave.html
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