Weather models show the country under a blanket of scorching heat, with temperatures hitting 40C at least three times over the next 10 days in the center and south. Prolonged wetness in Spain in July has been described as “hellish”, with August expected to be “sweltering”. Warnings have now been activated in 15 regions, only two of which have been spared the intense heat – Asturias and Murcia. Spaniards have been cooking in scorching heat since Sunday July 31, the day the third heat wave began.
But today is expected to be the first day of the heat’s peak, with a whopping 40C expected to be reached across the southwest and northwest of the country.
Areas not reaching these highs will still record highs of at least 36°C to 38°C during the peak hours of the day.
According to the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), thermometers will exceed 40 degrees in the Guadalquivir, Guadiana and Tagus valleys.
An amber warning, which predicts significant risk to those taking part in outdoor activities – is in place for 15 provinces, including Gran Canaria, Seville and Jaen – two of which could actually exceed 42C today.
The hottest capitals are Cordoba, at 43C, Badajoz and Seville, both at 42C, and Toledo and Zamora at 41C.
WX Charts interactive maps estimate that this period of intense heat will not end until at least mid-August.
It shows temperatures will be between 32C and 38C until Wednesday August 17 – with extremely hot spikes for southern and central parts.
A small but potentially significant tactic to get people to stop wearing ties to work was suggested by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez last week.
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He said the move could help save energy by allowing public places to reduce their use of air conditioning systems.
Mr Sanchez said workers will be less dependent on expensive air conditioning if they don’t wear ties, saying it ‘means we can all save energy’.
Mr Sanchez himself was pictured without a tie at the press conference in Madrid where he spoke about ways to become less dependent on Russian gas, as part of an energy-saving decree.
Just days before the UK experiences its first-ever 40.3C day, Spain has been ravaged by a 45C heatwave, with reports claiming a record-breaking heat wave in Western Europe was responsible for more than 1,000 heat-related deaths in Spain and Portugal.
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The country has also been affected by a series of devastating fires in several Spanish regions in recent weeks.
Around 200,000 hectares of land have been devastated by forest fires in Spain this year.
France is also under a state of emergency due to persistent heat, with the whole country facing strict water restrictions until further notice.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.