Spain swelters as temperatures soar above May average

Warnings have been issued of high temperatures in 10 Spanish regions, where temperatures were forecast to reach the high 30s

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People waved fans, glugged water and splashed themselves at fountains in Spain on Saturday as the country sweltered under unseasonably high temperatures pushing close to 40º Celsius in some places.

“The early morning of May 21 was extraordinarily warm for the time of year in much of the centre and south of the peninsula,” national weather agency AEMET wrote on Twitter.

It issued warnings of high temperatures in 10 regions for Saturday, where temperatures were forecast to reach the high 30s.

Women wearing traditional sevillana dresses use fans to cool off as they sit on a horse-drawn carriage in Cordoba, Spain, on May 21, 2022.  Reuters

On Friday, May temperature records were broken in the city of Jaen, Andalusia, where 40ºC was reported.

AEMET said average temperatures in Jaen were 16ºC higher than normal for this time of year. Elsewhere in Spain, temperatures were at least 7ºC higher than usual.

In Madrid, street sweeper Rocio Vazquez, 58, was out working in the direct sun, wearing a face mask.

“This year it seems to have gone directly to summer, but we have to keep going,” she said. “It's scorching but it's our job and has to be done.”

AEMET spokesman Ruben del Campo said earlier this week that, if officially confirmed, it could be the first heatwave recorded in May.

Pensioners fill up a bottle with water at a fountain, during an episode of exceptionally high temperatures for the time of year, in Cordoba, Spain, May 21, 2022.  REUTERS / Jon Nazca

“This episode is very unusual for mid-May and could be one of the most intense episodes in the last 20 years,” he said.

In Cordoba, Andalusia, a group of women who had come from Madrid for a hen party were feeling the heat. One was dressed as a pink flamingo.

“It is really hot, we're [battling it] with a lot of water,” said bride-to-be Bea Ovejero, 31.

Updated: May 22, 2022, 12:16 PM