The heat is on: record temperatures forecast for Spain and Portugal

Temperatures may break records across Europe in the coming week with weather warnings currently in place across much of Spain and Portugal. Although holidaymakers might normally expect heat in the mid-30s in these countries, there is the potential for extreme temperatures – edging towards 50C.

Saturday is forecast to be Europe’s hottest day of the week and the Met Office has said that conditions on the Iberian peninsula “could beat the all-time continental European record of 48C”, with unusually high temperatures likely to extend into south-west France. According to the Met Office data the temperature record was set in Athens on 10 July 1977.

This particular heatwave is due to a “a plume of very dry, hot air from Africa”, according to Met Office forecaster Sophie Yeomans, with much of Europe being hotter than usual for the time of year. According to Met Office data, the record for Spain was 47.3C, recorded on 13 July 2017 in Montoro, east of Cordoba, and for Portugal 47.4C on 1 August 2003 in Amareleja, in the south-central Beja district.

“There’s an outside chance of hitting 50C,” said Yeomans. “If somewhere gets the right conditions, it could do [it] but that’s a very low likelihood.”

Met Office

Iberia is not the only place seeing high temperatures, in fact much of Europe will see a rise in temperatures by Friday

July 31, 2018

The Spanish meteorology agency, AEMET, has also issued an official warning of extreme temperatures, mainly for inland areas, which it predicts will exceed 45C. Much of the rest of the country, including the Cantabrian and Catalan coasts, are likely to see unusually high temperatures: above 35C. At this stage, it is thought that the eastern coast of Andalucía, the Canary Islands, and Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa, will stay around the average for the time of year.

The advice from the Met Office remains to find shade in the midday hours and regularly apply high-factor sunscreen. Anyone who particularly suffers with the heat should avoid inland areas and head to the coast, where conditions are fresher, with a cooler onshore breeze.

The UK will be cooler, but temperatures are still likely to reach the low 30s in the south-east.

“The temperatures we are currently experiencing may not yet be the ‘new normal’, but within a few decades they could be,” Met Office chief scientist Stephen Belcher said in a recent blog on the site. His team is currently carrying out a detailed analysis of the heatwave and its connection to climate change, with findings to be published later in 2018.


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