Spain on track for hottest-ever April as temperatures hit record 38.7C

A woman cools herself with a water bottle during a heatwave in Seville, Spain, in June 2022 (REUTERS)
A woman cools herself with a water bottle during a heatwave in Seville, Spain, in June 2022 (REUTERS)

Spain has provisionally recorded its hottest April day on record as temperatures soared to 38.7C on Thursday.

The nation’s weather service said temperatures would “reach values typical of summer” across most of the country, with temperatures of around 40C expected on Friday.

As people in the country sweltered, Spanish media reported that the Health Ministry would consider implementing a heat prevention plan two weeks early to help regions respond to the effects of the unseasonably warm weather.

On Wednesday, one horse died and a second collapsed while pulling passenger carriages through Seville during a record heatwave in the southern Spanish city, video footage showed, triggering an animal abuse investigation.

Bystanders tried to revive the animal that died with water after it expired on Wednesday next to a busy road, a video posted on Instagram by a member of bird welfare group Rescate de Aves showed.

Spain’s State Meteorological Agency, which is known by the Spanish acronym AEMET, said temperatures are “exceptionally high” for April because of a mass of very warm and dry air coming from North Africa.

With a long weekend coming up, some people packed beaches along the coast.

But residents who could not get away from Spain’s inland capital, Madrid, were less lucky.

Loli Gutierrez, 70, said she was worried about what conditions would be like when summer actually comes.

“This is already unbearable,” she said. “We are only in April. If this happening in April, how is it going to be June?”

Last year was Spain‘s hottest since record-keeping started in 1961, and also the country’s sixth driest despite the presence of weather phenomenon La Nina, which slightly dampened global average temperatures.

The Spanish government has requested emergency funds from the European Union to support farmers and ranchers amid extreme drought conditions in the country’s agricultural heartlands, including the Guadalquivir Valley.

AEMET said this was likely to be the hottest April on the Iberian Peninsula since records began. It expected the hot weather to peak on Thursday and Friday at around 40C.

Currently, 27 per cent of Spanish territory is classified as in a drought “emergency” or “alert,” according to the Ecological Transition Ministry, and water reserves are at 50 per cent of capacity nationally.

The world’s biggest exporter of olive oil, Spain is also an important producer of fruits and vegetables for the European market.

The drought has already driven up prices of Spanish olive oil to record levels.