After a terrible Tuesday, in which Figueres (Girona) scored 45.4°, the highest temperature ever recorded in Catalonia, more than 140 stations in the network of the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) reached or exceeded 40° and in more than 45 observers it has not dropped below 25°, Spain faces this Wednesday the last day of the heat wave that affects the entire Mediterranean basin. The good news is that there will be a noticeable relief in the northern third of the Iberian Peninsula thanks to “the entry of northerly winds will lead to a fairly sharp drop in temperatures,” says Rubén del Campo, spokesman for Aemet. The fall can be extraordinary ―10° less than the previous day― in points in Euskadi and Navarra, 8° in Aragon and milder in the rest.
However, the bad news is that these same winds will arrive burning, “in the form of terrals”, to the south of the Valencian Community, Murcia and the extreme south of Andalusia – the coast and pre-coast of the province of Malaga and the part eastern Almería―, where temperatures can rise by as much as 5°/6°. The worst will live Murcia, under red alert, the maximum, of 44°, and in Alicante and Malaga, of 42º. In other areas of the eastern and southern thirds of the Peninsula and in the Balearic Islands it will exceed 38º up to 40º, which is why the alert is orange, the second of a scale of three, in Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Castile-La Mancha and Catalonia , and yellow, the least, in Extremadura, Community of Madrid and Ceuta and Melilla.
In the rest of the country there will be “a slight drop”, therefore “it will continue to be a very hot day in the centre, west and south of the peninsula, as well as in the Balearic Islands”, anticipates the Aemet spokesman. For example, in Lleida it can still reach 38°/40°, in the Balearic Islands 38° to 40° are also expected and in the interior of the Valencian Community, in the province of Albacete and in the Guadalquivir valley, from 39° to 41 ° . “These values contrast with those of the coolest area of the country, the Bay of Biscay, where it will barely reach 25°,” says Del Campo.
Also, due to the afternoon heat, there will be thunderstorms, many of them dry with little or no rain but with very intense gusts of wind, in the interior southeast. In Andalusia, Murcia and Valencian Community There is a yellow alert. The haze, which causes a deterioration in air quality, will move eastward, although it will continue very high or extreme fire risk in most of the country.
The haze will move to the east and in the afternoon there could be dry thunderstorms in the southeast interior with very strong gusts of wind.
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And all this after a night that was probably the worst of the episode, given that a rise in the lows was expected in Catalonia, the central area ―in Madrid the forecast was that it would not drop below 26°―, in the Valencian Community, Murcia and Andalusia, while in the rest of the country they should remain unchanged or decrease slightly.
Seven monthly records
On the first day of the surge, Monday, two monthly records were broken already validated by Aemet in Toledo (maximum of 42.9°) and in Teruel (minimum of 20.6°), while on Tuesday the incredible 45.4° were reached in Figueres and the maximum records were also broken in Lleida (43.2°), Teruel (40.5°) and Albacete (41.3°) and minimum in Cuenca (20.8°), all awaiting certification.
On Monday, July 17, Toledo broke the record for the maximum temperature for the month of July, with 42.9 ºC.
Teruel experienced its hottest night in July since records were set, with 20.6 ºC.
Both stations have had data at their current location since the 1980s. pic.twitter.com/4ESDhJ6BPP
— AEMET (@AEMET_Esp) July 18, 2023
The Figueres record is “provisional, but if confirmed it would be an absolute temperature record in Catalonia. The previous record was from 2019, with 43.7° in Alcarràs (Lleida). This record was also surpassed on Tuesday in Porqueres (Girona), with 44.3″, clarified the agency. Furthermore, these 45.4° are “perhaps the northernmost 45° in Spain, Figueres is at 42º N latitude. In Ourense the maximum is at 44.1°, also 42º N.”, indicates the expert Miguel Muñoz, from the fan network Colectivo Meteofreak de Córdoba. “Spain has another frying pan near the French border. The data from the stations in Catalonia is incredible,” the science popularizer Vicente Aupí judges since the high levels of the Guadalquivir valley – Monday 44.9° in Andújar (Jaén) and 44.8° in Villanueva del Arzobispo (Jaén) and Montoro (Córdoba) – thus reproduce to the north.
“The 45.4° in Figueres is, for now, the highest temperature reached in Spain this summer, curiously in an unusual area. We will see if this Wednesday will be exceeded in points in the south-east of the peninsula”, warns the agency, adding that “it depends on many factors such as the wind regime or the presence of cloud cover and suspended dust”.
Furthermore, on Tuesday, two observers from the Servei Metereològic de Catalunya (SMC or Meteocat), Pantà by Darnius-Boadella and Navata, both in Girona and with series of more than 30 years of data, has reached 45.1°, an “unusual figure” which becomes the new maximum temperature measured by the Xarxa d’Estacions Meterològiques Automàtiques (XEMA), which has 184 stations. The record exceeds the previous high of 43.8° in Alcarràs (Tarragona) in June 2019 by more than one degree. In addition, six XEMA stations exceeded the old record of 43.8° and 18 measured more than 43°.
It was a historic day of heat in Catalonia and very hot in most of the country: more than 140 stations of the Aemet network reached or exceeded 40°. In more than 45 stations it did not drop below 25°.
Tuesday 18 July was a very hot day in most of the country: more than 140 stations of the Aemet network reached or exceeded 40ºC. In more than 45 stations it did not drop below 25 ºC. pic.twitter.com/cVxOK2beKY
— AEMET (@AEMET_Esp) July 19, 2023
And finally on Thursday, Aemet “will put an end to the heat wave” with a “general drop in temperatures”, to which a second drop will be added on Friday, a day in which even in the north-west areas “it could be a cool day for the season”. Both days will still be “intensely hot”, with over 36° over most of the central, southern and western part of the Peninsula and also in the Balearic Islands, especially on Thursday, when the orange alert remains due to excessive heat in Murcia and yellow in Andalusia, Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Castile-La Mancha, Catalonia and the Valencian Community.
But temperatures will rise again over the weekend and election Sunday will be “a hot day with stable weather, with no rain over much of the country, even if an isolated storm could form in the mountain areas”. Temperatures could exceed 35° in large areas of the country, especially in the north-east, in the center and in the south of the peninsula and in the Balearic Islands.
The Canary Islands remain out of this heat wave situation, where in these days the typical summer trade wind regime predominates. Temperatures will fluctuate in the coastal areas between 22° and 24° at dawn and between 27° and 30° in the early afternoon, in the southern parts of Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura more than 32°.