The state meteorological agency AEMET has issued a weather warning for high temperatures over the next 48 hours which affect much of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, although our region is likely to escape the highest temperatures. Observations show that a mass of hot air is moving northwards from the African continent which will produce intense heat wave conditions with maximum temperatures tomorrow Thursday 30th July expected to reach 40°c-42°c in many places of Spain, particularly along the northern coasts of Cantabria and the Basque Country, in the Ebro Valley in Navarra and La Rioja, the Tagus and Guadiana valleys and the Gaudalquivir region. Slightly lower temperatures of between 37°c-39°c are likely to affect the interior of Mallorca. Only coastal areas – such as the Costa Blanca – will escape the intense heat, although temperatures could still reach the mid-30s.
The northern areas of Spain will see a significant drop in temperatures on Friday and Saturday whilst the southern and eastern regions of the peninsula will see temperatures rise again; the rest of the country will see few changes. Maximum temperatures are likely to exceed 40°c in many areas of the south and north-east of the peninsula and reach between 36°c-38°c in the rest of the southern and eastern regions, in the central meseta zone and in the Balearic Islands.
On Sunday 2nd August, the drop in maximum temperatures experienced by the northern areas are likely to spread progressively to the rest of the Iberian peninsula.
DEALING WITH THE HEAT
The main risks are not drinking enough water resulting in dehydration, overheating (which can affects people who have pre-existing problems with their heart or lungs), heat exhaustion and heatstroke. if anyone feels unwell with a high temperature during hot weather, it may be the latter two conditions.
Health experts recommend the following tips to help deal with the hot weather:
1) Drink plenty of fluids; make sure you have enough water with you if you are travelling. Avoid excess alcohol.
2) Slow down! Avoid strenuous activities and get plenty of rest to allow the natural cooling system of the body to work.
3) If you work outside, take regular breaks to rest and drink fluids. Keep an eye on colleagues. Heat can cloud judgement.
4) Sweating heavily means that you need to replace electrolytes in your body by eating a small amount of food with your water.
5) Try to keep out of the sun between 11.00am and 3.00pm; avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day, consider before 7.00am.
6) If you do have to go outside, walk in the shade as much as possible, apply suncream regularly and wear a wide brimmed hat.
7) At home, close curtains and blinds in rooms that face the sun to keep the indoor spaces cooler. Hot air rises so head downstairs if you can.
8) Eat fresh foods that don’t require you to use the oven or hob to prepare to eliminate another source of heat inside the house.
9) Avoid large, heavy meals which prompt your body to increase internal heat to aid digestion. Avoid high protein foods such as meat.
10) Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children and animals.
In addition, remember your neighbours who may be particularly at risk, especially if they are older people who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated, those with underlying health conditions and those who live along. Although there is the COVID-19 health situation still dominating our lives, during an intense heat-wave people are more at risk from heat-related problems.