A new episode of high temperatures begins with signs of being the earliest heat wave

The real heat returns when the first 10 days of meteorological summer are barely over and after a first hellish warning in mid-May. This new “episode of high temperatures”, as the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) qualifies it at the moment, begins this afternoon, will affect almost the entire Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, especially the southwest quadrant, and will last at least until Tuesday. “If the forecasts are fulfilled, we could be facing the first heat wave of the summer, saying this with caution because until it ends we will not be able to testify if all the requirements have been met,” explains Rubén del Campo, spokesman for Aemet.

For the AEMET to consider it a wave, certain thresholds of intensity, extension and duration must be exceeded: very extreme temperatures must be produced, affect 10% of the seasons and last at least three days. If it passes these three criteria, it would become the earliest recorded in Spain since there are data, since until now this dubious honor was held by the one that occurred on June 11, 1981. In the end, it ends up being a wave or it is not a mere technicality, “the important thing is that they are going to be extremely hot days for this time of year”, says Del Campo.

The peak of the episode will occur “between Sunday and Monday, when values ​​of more than 40° and even 42° can be reached in the Guadalquivir and Guadiana valleys”, details the Aemet spokesman. Only the Cantabrian oven will be spared from the Iberian oven, where there will be “a break and it will not exceed 25°”. In the rest of the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, the thermometers will mark values ​​of more than 35°, while the nights will be equally suffocating. Tropical nights are expected, in which the thermometers do not drop below 20°, in the Mediterranean, the southern half, the central zone and the Ebro basin”.

This is how the stain of 40 degrees or more evolves from this Thursday to next Wednesday.
This is how the stain of 40 degrees or more evolves from this Thursday to next Wednesday.CESAR RODRIGUEZ BALLESTEROS / AEMET

“It is even possible that there will be hot nights – in which the minimum temperature is 25° or more – in isolated points of Extremadura and eastern Andalusia”, warns the meteorologist. Sleeping at such high temperatures has very harmful effects on health, emphasizes Dominic Royé, researcher and professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela, because they produce “prolonged thermal stress, by preventing the body from resting and recovering from the thermal stress suffered by the day”. According to a study published by Royé, mortality rises 16% in Spain with greater intensity of night heat.

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As Aemet points out in an informative note, the cause of this episode is the “situation of general stability, which favors strong sunshine, together with the entry of a mass of very warm air from North Africa”. Starting this afternoon and during Friday, “a low pressure center will begin to form in the northwest of Morocco, which, in turn, will drive a mass of warm air northward that will penetrate the southern peninsula,” the note adds. This phenomenon will throw wood on the fire and “will lead to a progressive rise in temperatures.” It is expected that on Friday 38° will be exceeded in large areas of the Guadalquivir, Guadiana and Tajo valleys, including 40° in the first.

Map of minimums above 20 degrees (tropical or torrid nights) from this Thursday to next Wednesday.
Map of minimums above 20 degrees (tropical or torrid nights) from this Thursday to next Wednesday.CESAR RODRIGUEZ BALLESTEROS / AEMET

“The progressive rise in temperatures will continue throughout the weekend and probably during the beginning of next week,” warns the agency, which points out that, as of Saturday, they will exceed 38 ° in much of the area. center, Extremadura, north of Andalusia and west of Castilla-La Mancha”. The most probable thing is that this ascent “continues during Sunday and Monday, to tend to stabilize as of Tuesday,” the statement concludes.

“We’ll see if it ends up being a heat wave in the end, the possibility is on the table, but the serious thing is that it’s soon and the trend is being observed”, highlights Del Campo. The first two waves that appear in the Aemet study on this phenomenon, which started in 1975, date from June 11, 1981 and June 13, 2017 and, until now, they were phenomena that were concentrated in July and August. “Until 2010, the frequency with which a wave occurred in June was one every seven years, as of 2011 we have gone to one every two years”, points out the Aemet spokesman.

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