SPAIN’S weather agency has confirmed that Saturday May 21 was the hottest day recorded in the month of May since records began.
Unseasonably warm weather saw the mercury soar to above 40ºC in parts of inland southern Spain on Saturday while more than half the country had weather alerts issued.
“Saturday the 21st was the warmest day in May for the whole of peninsular Spain since at least 1950,” said AEMET in a post on Twitter alongside a graph showing national averages throughout the year.
“It is very significant that the average temperature on this day exceeded the normal average for any day of the year in our country, including midsummer,” the agency pointed out.
AEMET said the heatwave, caused by a mass of hot air coming from North Africa, had produced high temperatures up to 15ºC above the seasonal average.
Cordoba was one of the areas most affected by the heat just as the city was celebrating its feria with night time temperatures not dropping below 25 during the night.
Meanwhile the city of Jaén in southern Spain recorded its highest ever May temperature of 40C on Friday.
At the other end of the peninsula in Catalunya, records were also broken for May with an all time high for May reached on Sunday.
The northern town of Anglès, near Girona, and the town of Castellbisbal, near Barcelona, registered the highest temperature at 38.5ºC, marking an all-time high for this month with people flocking to beaches across the Catalan coast.
Many parts of Spain were hot by thunderstorms on Saturday evening with Aemet saying records had been broken not just for the highest maximum and minimum temperatures but also for the number of lightening strikes during storms.
Weather warnings for high temperatures were issued for Andalucía, Aragón, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Navarra, País Vasco and La Rioja.
Temperatures began to cool again on Sunday and are expected to drop further as the week continues.