Andalucía prepares for “earliest heat wave” since records began in Spain

The Aemet weather agency is forecasting unusually high temperatures throughout the region in the coming days, with four provinces already on alert for sweltering heat this Thursday

ALMUDENA NOGUÉS Malaga

Keep an eye on the thermometers and prepare for some serious heat. Temperatures are going to rise in Andalucía from Thursday, reaching 38C in the provinces of Seville, Cordoba, Jáen and inland Granada. Malaga province will be a little cooler, but it will feel very humid, according to meteorologist José Luis Escudero on his SUR blog Tormentas y Rayos.

The Aemet weather agency says this could be the earliest heatwave in Spain since records began. Temperatures began to rise all over the country on Tuesday, and for today, Wednesday, spokespeson Rubén Del Campo says the hottest city in the region will be Cordoba, with a high of 38C. To give a comparison, further north in La Coruña and Asturias it will be between 20C and 22C.

The first tropical nights will begin in the early hours of tomorrow morning in the Ebro and Guadalquivir valleys.

In Andalucía yellow weather warnings have been activated for high temperatures in the provinces of Seville, Córdoba, Jaén and inland areas of Granada on Thursday. Aemet is forecasting that Cordoba will see 40C, Seville and Granada 39C and Jaén 38 degrees.

In general, Rubén Del Campo says temperatures will be between five and ten degrees higher than normal in almost the whole of the country, and between ten and 15C higher than usual at this time of year in the centre of the pensinsula.

For the weekend, he says the forecast is still uncertain due to the presence of an area of low pressure in the west or south-west of the peninsula, and its position will depend on a greater or lesser projection of hot air. On Sunday temperatures could start to drop again in the west, although they will continue to rise along the Mediterranean.

What counts as a heatwave?

Although we are going to notice the difference, Del Campo says this is not a heatwave in the strict meteorological sense, because for that to happen three things have to coincide: the episode has to last for at least three days, affect at least ten per cent of the territory and the maximum temperatures have to be extremely high.

“We will have to wait till we have all the data to know whether it is a heat wave or not. If it is, it would be the first time there had been one in Spain in May,” he says. In the past, the earliest high temperatures were on 11 June 1981 and 13 June 2017.

Nevertheless, he warns that this week’s temperatures are “very unusual” for May. "It could be the most intense episode of heat in May in the past 20 years, anyway,” he says.