After the thermometers broke the ceiling of 43 degrees on Sunday, this Monday most of the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands await a second suffocating day of heat wave in which the thermometers will reach that level again. If on Sunday there were seven communities on alert, this Monday they have increased to 12, with an orange warning ―major risk, the second level of three― in Andalusia, Aragón, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Madrid, and yellow ―the first level of the Meteoalert scale― in Castilla y León, Catalonia, Galicia, Murcia, Navarra, La Rioja and the Valencian Community. But if the days are suffocating, the nights are not far behind, with lows above 20° – tropical nights – and 25° – torrid – in large areas of the south and center. The morning from Saturday to Sunday, Jaén did not drop below 26.5 ° and Coria (Cáceres), 25.5 °; and last night was also very warm, with 33 ° at midnight in points of the province of Badajoz. Only Galicia, the western Cantabrian coast and some points of the peninsular Mediterranean coast are spared from the infernal blow.
However, no maximum or minimum temperature records have been broken on Saturday or Sunday, stresses Rubén del Campo, spokesman for the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet). Both this Monday and Tuesday, the Aemet explains in its special notice, the thermal rise will continue in the north and southeast of the peninsula and in the Balearic Islands, especially in the Cantabrian area and the upper Ebro. They may exceed 35 ° in large areas of the North plateau, high Ebro, southern Galicia, the interior of the eastern Cantabrian Sea and Mallorca and 40° in the Ebro valley. In the center and south of the peninsula they will remain at values similar to those of this Sunday, with 40° in the Guadiana, Tagus and Guadalquivir valleys, where in some points temperatures can exceed 42°.
On Tuesday, the heat notices are extended to 14 communities, with the same autonomies as on Monday, plus Castilla y León, in orange. The notice is yellow in the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Galicia, Murcia, Navarra, the Basque Country, La Rioja, and the Valencian Community. On Wednesday, the agency details, it is “likely that the rise in temperatures will continue in the north of the peninsula and that a decrease will begin in the southwest.” That day, the regions under notice are reduced to 11, with the same six as on Tuesday in orange. In yellow remain the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Murcia, La Rioja and the Valencian Community.
As of Thursday, the Aemet advances, it is possible that there will be a significant drop in temperatures in the western half of the peninsula, but the values will continue to be very high in the eastern half. In any case, the uncertainty from that day “is high”, so much so that a clear end to the wave is not even in sight. At the moment, the Aemet has extended its duration “until Thursday 16 at least”, without ruling out that it can be extended a few more days. The cause of the uncertainty is an isolated high-level depression (dana) —a pocket of air in high layers— that will be located in Madeira and “whose evolution cannot be determined with precision”.
This wave, which comes after the warmest month of May this century and the second since 1961, may be the first or second earliest since 1975, the date on which the report on heat waves begins. Aemet. The earliest riser to date occurred on June 11, 1981 and, although in principle the Aemet dated its start this Sunday 12, it is possible that the criteria of intensity, extension and duration were already met before. “With the data we have on the table, its start could have been brought forward to Saturday 11, but this extreme will be confirmed when the wave ends and we analyze the entire episode,” explains Del Campo. Furthermore, we could be the heat wave “most intense for mid-June of, at least, the last 20 years”, assures the Aemet, which is based on the high values that the EFI index (Extreme Forecast Index) yields, with which the rarity of an extreme phenomenon is quantified.
In recent decades, due to global warming, heat waves are becoming more frequent in June. Since 1975, a sixth of the waves have occurred in June, 10 of 65, and seven of them are concentrated so far this century. “Until 2010, the frequency with which a wave occurred in June was one every seven years, from 2011 we have gone to one every two years,” warns Rubén del Campo, spokesman for Aemet.
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