Exceptional summer in Spain

  • Location of the highest temperature ever recorded in Spain. Credit: Meteogroup.

    Location of the minimum temperature the 14th of July. Credit: Meteogroup.

    Synoptic situation with the advection of intense heat from the north of Africa. Credit: Wetterzentrale

  • Exceptional summer in Spain
    29.07.2017 13:38

    Even before the official summer started, Spain had seen exceptional weather conditions in different parts of the country this year, from heatwaves to severe thunderstorms. This is a summary of the weather conditions there so far.

    Heatwave in June

    The summer officially starts on the 21th of June but before this day, with the longest hours of the daylight of the year, the strong sunshine heated the air up quickly over the Spanish plateau and temperatures rose sharply for many areas.  A high pressure kept dry and sunny conditions for a few days and some areas started to see some records breaking. The 13th of June these cities broke previous records:

    ·         Madrid 39.5C, previous record 39.3C the 29th June 2015.

    ·         Cuenca 38.1C, previous record 38.0C the 30th of June 1994.

    ·         Albacete 39.7C, previous record 39.4C the 22nd of June 2002.

    At the start of the following week,  there was a relief for many parts but it remained near 30C for southern regions.

    Severe Thunderstorms at the start of July

    The next spell of extreme weather occurred during the first week of July. A slow-moving cut-off low over central Spain triggered several squal lines with severe thunderstorms. Some meteorologists and amateurs even talked about supercells but this is not yet confirmed. There was very large hail, frequent lightning and strong winds for central and northern areas. An impressive metre of hail accumulated in some streets of Girona, Cataluna, on July 1st, with flash flooding in other parts of the city. Many inhabitants needed to be evacuated by the emergency services.

    Madrid saw a massive thunderstorm too July 7th but the worst affected area was the south-west of the Madrid region with torrential downpours, golf-ball-size hail and very frequent lightning. The village of Cenicientos registered a peak of precipitation of 245 mm per hour. This is not an official figure and it is pending verification. Anyhow, beyond 60 mm/hour, the intensity of the rain is considered torrential.

    Another exceptional heatwave

    A couple of weeks ago, a sub-tropical high pressure ridged and brought intense heat from north-west Africa. Temperatures became exceptional in the regions of Extremadura and Andalucia. These areas are always very hot in summer but this time the situation turned unbearable and several people have suffered from heatstroke.

    There was some controversy that week on social networks concerning the maximum temperature and new record of  47.3C at Montoro, to the east of Cordoba. However, the official record belongs to Cordoba city itself with 46.9C on July the 13th. Moreover, another seven observation sites broke their previous records. Not only did the maximum temperatures break records, but it was also very hot during the night in many places, such as Dona Mencia, Cordoba which near 29C as the minimum temperature on July the 14th

    Outlook for August

    It looks as though temperatures will remain above average next week. That means, it will remain dry and sunny for most areas and quite hot but not so exceptional. However, the north-west will be cooler and cloudier with a chance of some rain towards mid-week. Looking ahead, a largely dry and hot period is expected for much of Spain with just cooler and wetter conditions across the Cantabrian Coast. There are hints that the second part of August may have temperatures above average with a greater risk of anew heatwaves and dry conditions are expected to continue.

    By: Mario Cuellar