Temperatures exceeded 40 degrees in central and southern Spain. A heat wave suffocated the Iberian Peninsula on Monday, arriving from Portugal. 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 Ruben Del Campo. According to Aemet, the risk of fires is “extreme” over the vast majority of the territory.
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Global warming at work
According to scientists, the multiplication of heat waves, particularly 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 south), “unusually high” temperatures between Christmas and New Year’s Day, an early surge in May and the current surge.
Several fire starts in the south-east of France
Hot air will arrive Tuesday in the south-west of France 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 episode could be “a priori, on a national scale, the earliest since the start of the measures”, 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 at Grau du Roi: the @Prefet30 has opened the departmental operational center (COD) as a pref to follow the… https://t.co/vf99sHexZZ
– pompiersdugard (@Sapeurs Pompiers du Gard)January 13, 2022
This heat wave comes after a particularly hot and dry spring which caused drought in much of France, which raises fears for crops and creates 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.
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