The heat wave that has covered southwestern Europe for several days will reach its peak in Spain on Thursday, where temperatures exceeded 45 degrees on Wednesday, while forest fires are multiplying.
The heat wave in the Iberian Peninsula will last from a week to ten daysthat is, at least until Sunday or perhaps until the middle of next week, according to reports from meteorological agencies.
For this Thursday “it is expected to be the peak day of this heat wave episode”, warned the Spanish State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), which does not foresee, however, that the absolute heat record in Spain, of 47.4 degrees, registered in August 2021 in Montoro, in Andalusia, will be broken.
However, crushing heat is expected, above 40 degrees, in the valleys of the Guadiana, the Tagus and the Guadalquivir, in the southwestern quadrant of the country, and in the center, according to the Aemet.
Likewise, the Spanish agency forecasts that the minimum temperatures will continue to rise to 24 to 26 degrees in the south and center of the country.
All of Spain, except the Canary Islands, is under alert due to high temperatures.
Andalusia (south), Extremadura (southwest), and even Galicia (northwest), with a traditionally moderate climate, are on red alert.
Temperatures will ease over the weekend in Spain, particularly in the south and west, but the situation will remain sweltering in the north-west as the heat wave moves north towards France and the UK.
The peak of temperatures in France will be reached on Sunday or Mondayaccording to Wednesday forecasts from Météo-France.
“France is experiencing a heat wave that will intensify between Sunday and Tuesday,” forecasters said, adding that “temperatures will gradually drop from the west starting Tuesday and Wednesday.”
“The axis of the highest temperatures will extend from the Pyrenees to the Pays de la Loire between Sunday and Monday, with night temperatures that will not drop below 20 to 25 degrees and daytime temperatures that may exceed 40 degrees in many places, and locally 42 degrees,” they noted.
The most affected French regions will be the south-west and the lower Rhône (south-east).
With such heat, fires proliferate in southern Europe.
In Greece, a helicopter trying to put out a forest fire in Samos crashed in the Aegean Sea, the Greek coastguard reported on Wednesday.
In Portugal, a fire on Tuesday night killed one person in the northern region of Aveiro, according to emergency services
The center of the country remains the hardest hit by the forest fires, which resumed Tuesday afternoon, fueled by heat and wind.
Clare Nullis, spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, warned in recent days of a critical situation of “very, very dry soils” and the impact of temperatures on the glaciers of the Alps.
In Francetwo fires fueled by “dry vegetation, especially undergrowth”, according to the authorities, have devastated 2,700 hectares of pine trees in the Bordeaux region (southwest) since Tuesday afternoon.
The intensity of this second heat wave that affects the country in a month could be “equivalent” to the deadly heat wave of August 2003 (with almost 19,500 deaths in France), said Matthieu Sorel, climatologist at Météo-France, who it lasted two weeks.
High temperatures will also spread to other parts of Western Europe.
In the United Kingdom, The meteorological agency (Met Office) issued an orange alert for a wave of “extreme heat” starting on Sunday, with temperatures above 35 degrees.