Spain suffocated by an "abnormal" heat wave before arriving in France

A heat wave hit Spain on Monday with peaks of 40 degrees.

Spain suffocated by an "abnormal" heat wave before arriving in France

A heat wave hit Spain on Monday with peaks of 40 degrees. It must reach France on Tuesday, an "abnormal" episode for the period caused by global warming.

This episode, which comes a few days after the hottest May for at least 100 years in Spain, results in "extreme temperatures", Ruben del Campo, spokesman for the meteorological agency, told AFP. Spanish (Aemet).

Caused by a localized depression between the Azores and Madeira which gradually brings very hot air from the Maghreb to Western Europe, it started this weekend and "could last until the end of the week", he added.

"This extreme heat, at this time of spring, is not normal" and is due to "global warming", said Mr. Del Campo.

According to Aemet, temperatures will exceed 40 degrees in the center and south of the country and could even rise to 43 degrees in Andalusia (south), especially in Cordoba and Seville.

And the mercury will not drop below 20 or 25 degrees at night in these parts of Spain.

- The "earliest" in France -

According to scientists, the multiplication of heat waves, especially in Europe, is a consequence of global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions increase their power, duration and frequency.

Over the last ten months, Spain has gone through four episodes of extreme temperatures: a heat wave in August 2021 when the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the country was broken (47.4 degrees in Montoro, in the south), "unusually high" temperatures between Christmas and New Year's Day, an early surge in May and the current surge.

In France, a record was recorded on Monday across France for 2022, with a peak of 37.6°C recorded in Cuers (south-east)).

Hot air will arrive in the south-west of the country on Tuesday where temperatures could reach 35-36°C, before spreading over the entire southern half on Wednesday and then north.

For the southern half, the peak will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with 35 to 39°C, or even 40°C locally, Frédéric Nathan, forecaster at Météo-France, told AFP.

This heat wave would be "a priori, on a national scale, the earliest since the start of the measurements" (in 1947, he specified.

Restrictions on the use of water have already been introduced in 35 French departments, i.e. almost a third of the country.

- Fire alert -

This heat wave comes after a particularly hot and dry spring which caused drought in much of France, raising fears for crops and creating conditions conducive to fires.

On Monday, several major fires broke out in a region of southeastern France, including burning 60 bungalows in one of the largest campsites in Europe, at Grau-du-Roi. No injuries were to be deplored among the 3,000 registered holidaymakers, according to the prefecture.

In Portugal, this heat wave, which started on Friday and is also expected to last until the end of the week, has resulted in temperatures ranging between 30 and 35 degrees and which can reach 40 degrees in some areas, according to the National Meteorological Institute.

While the country recorded the hottest month of May since 1931 and that almost all of its territory is suffering from a "severe drought", the risk of forest fires is at its highest.

Same scenario in Spain where, according to Aemet, the risk of fires is “extreme” over the vast majority of the territory.

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