August 5, 2021

Spain and the United States facing strong heat waves

A heatwave raged on Sunday July 11 over much of Spain, with very high temperatures, pushing residents and tourists to take refuge in the shade or in the coolness of the swimming pools. Across the Atlantic, the western United States is facing a second major surge in the thermometer, after the “heat dome” which hit the northwest of North America at the end of June.

Spain’s Meteorological Agency (Aemet) had warned most of the country of a heat wave, with temperatures reaching over 40 ° C in Madrid and Seville for the second day in a row. The first episode of extreme heat in Spain this year is expected to spread east on Monday, before temperatures drop. Only a small part of the country’s north Atlantic coast, where the climate is more oceanic, should be spared.

Some escaped the scorching heat by taking refuge in the air-conditioned galleries of Madrid’s famous Prado museum, which houses works by Rembrandt, Rubens and El Greco. “We thought it would be a good plan for a day like today”, testifies Rosa Alfageme, 44, as she queued to enter the museum with her husband and their 6-year-old daughter. Others went to the nearby Retiro Park, which has an artificial lake, or to the municipal swimming pools.

The 19 outdoor swimming pools in the city were full on Sunday: all tickets have been sold, while their capacity is limited due to health restrictions due to the coronavirus. Authorities recommend that people drink water more regularly, wear light clothing and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. According to meteorologists, temperatures could reach 44 ° C in the Guadalquivir valley, near Seville, on Sunday. The highest temperature ever recorded in Spain is 49 ° C.

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New temperature records likely in the United States

Vehicles seen through a mirage caused by high air temperature, Thermal, Calif., July 10, 2021.

The United States could break new temperature records as several regions in the west of the country, and their 30 million inhabitants, are suffering from a new heat wave, the second in a few weeks.

The thermometer rose over the weekend across much of the Pacific Rim as well as large areas inland west of the Rockies, with forecasts anticipating even higher mercury on Sunday. According to the National Meteorological Service, the NWS, Las Vegas equaled its all-time high by reaching 47.2 ° C, a mark reached by the city located in the middle of the Nevada desert for the first time in 1942 and three times since 2005.

Forecasters have issued a warning bulletin for the metropolitan area as well as several other urban centers, including Phoenix and San Jose, in central Silicon Valley, not far from San Francisco. “More than 30 million people are affected by a heat alert bulletin or by a warning”the NWS said on Saturday, adding that the particularly dangerous high temperatures and dry conditions are expected to continue on Sunday.

This new heat wave comes less than three weeks after the previous one, which hit the western United States and Canada in late June, causing heat records to be broken three days in a row in the Canadian province of Columbia. British. The number of deaths caused by this first wave is not yet known but is estimated at several hundred.

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This June was the hottest month on record in North America, according to data released by the European Union’s climate monitoring service. So far, human activity has caused global temperatures to rise by around 1.1 ° C, resulting in more destructive storms, more intense heat waves, droughts and increased forest fires. According to the International Meteorological Organization and the UK Met Office, the probability of the global temperature rising 1.5 ° C in the next five years is 40%.

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The World with AFP