Spain sets heat record

47.2° is new provisional record

Spain sets heat record 1

Associated Press reports that Spain set a new provisional heat record of 47.2 degrees Celsius yesterrday as Southern Europe sweltered under a relentless summer sun. Italy put 16 cities on red alert for health risks and Portugal, as reported here, warned 75% of its regions that they faced a “significantly increased risk” of wildfires.

Data from Spain’s State Meteorological Agency said the potential new record was recorded at Montoro, Cordoba, at 5:10 p.m. If confirmed, that would exceed the country’s previous record of 46.9 degrees Celsius, set nearby in July 2017.

European record under threat

The high heat comes only days after Sicily reported a temperature of 48.8 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, which is also awaiting verification and would be the highest ever recorded in Europe. Europe’s current heat record came in 1977 when Athens hit 48.0 Celsius.

In the southern Spanish province of Granada, where the mercury rose to 45.4 Celsius, few people ventured outside. Those who did sought shade and stopped to take photos of public thermometers displaying the rocketing temperatures. Ice cream parlors did a brisk trade and some restaurants installed sprinklers to spray mists of water over their guests.

The World Meteorological Organization said temperatures being recorded in the Mediterranean region go well beyond the typical hot, dry August weather and instead “are extreme, and what we might expect from climate change”.

With night-time temperatures forecast to exceed 25 degrees Celsius in much of Spain, Roye worried about residents who cannot afford air conditioning and other vulnerable people, like the homeless or outdoor workers.

Spain’s State Meteorological Agency noted that 24 heat waves have been recorded over the last decade, twice the number in each of the previous three decades.

“It is important to stay in cool places and to stay hydrated, and to special attention to babies and elderly, vulnerable or otherwise dependent people. Extreme precautions should be taken to avoid starting forest fires,” said Ruben del Campo, spokesman for the Spanish meteorological service.

Elsewhere on the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal’s government placed 14 of the country’s 18 districts on a state of alert through Monday night due to the “significantly increased risk” of wildfires, as temperatures were forecast to surpass 40 degrees Celsius. That would still fall short of Portugal’s highest ever recorded temperature of 47.3 degrees Celsius in the inland Alentejo region in 2003.

Italians sought respite at the sea and in the mountains from the aptly named Lucifer anti-cyclone that was bringing hot air from Africa during Italy’s peak summer holiday weekend. Authorities raised concerns about older adults and other people at risk as they expanded heat warnings to 16 cities.

Spain sets heat record 3

Temperatures in Italy rose as high as 37 degrees Celsius in Rome, Florence and Bologna, all places that the Health Ministry put on red alert.

High temperatures were forecast to continue through Sunday, the traditional Ferragosto holiday on the religious feast of the Assumption of Mary, which marks the annual summer holiday exodus from Italian cities.

In Rome, drinking fountains provided relief, while authorities kept tourists away from ornamental fountains like the famed Trevi Fountain, fearing imitators of Anita Ekberg’s soaking in “La Dolce Vita.”

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