By Alex Hardie, CNN and Reuters
Parts of Spain experienced a record heat wave for the month of May as temperatures reached 40.3 degrees Celsius (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in one city, according to the country’s national weather agency AEMET.
By Sunday afternoon, the meteorological agency had issued high temperature warnings in 17 Spanish regions.
According to Reuters, residents in the country’s south “waving from fans, drank water and doused themselves with fountains” on Saturday as the heatwave swept through the region.
On Friday, the city of Jaén in Andalusia, southern Spain, recorded a temperature of 40.3 degrees Celsius.
In a tweet, the Spanish meteorological agency said that in the case of Jaén, temperatures were up to 16 degrees Celsius (60.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above average for the time of year.
Across the rest of the peninsula, temperatures were at least 7 degrees Celsius (44.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the normal average, the agency added.
AEMET spokesperson Ruben del Campo said: “This episode is very unusual for mid-May and could be one of the most intense episodes of the past 20 years.”
The early hours of Saturday morning were “extraordinarily hot” for the time of year in much of central and southern Spain, according to AEMET.
In many places, early morning temperatures did not drop below 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) – which the weather agency said “is virtually unheard of on the peninsula in May”.
AEMET also said the city of Segovia experienced its first-ever “tropical night” in May, defined as a night when temperatures do not drop below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).
Several countries around the world have recently experienced major heat waves, including India and Pakistan, as well as parts of the United States, such as the drought-stricken plains and Texas, as temperatures hit 90 degrees. Fahrenheit this month.
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