Spain has welcomed August with its first heatwave of the year, as temperatures exceeded 40°C (104°F) this weekend and look set to continue to remain high during the week. The heatwave, caused by a mass of hot air from Africa that settled over Spain, has affected regions across the country, with the southern area of Andalusia one of the most heavily hit.
While the heatwave had cooled slightly by Monday, temperatures were still high across the country, with forecasts including 41°C (106°F) for Seville, and 39°C (102°F) for Madrid and Zaragoza.
The high temperatures have caused wildfires in areas of Spain and Portugal. In the southern Portuguese region of the Algarve, hundreds of firefighters battled fires over the weekend. In the town of Setúbal, near Lisbon, temperatures were expected to reach 46°C (115°F) on Saturday.
In Spain over the weekend, three men died of heatstroke, including a road worker and a homeless man in Barcelona.
Spain’s national weather service Aemet has warned that high temperatures could continue into this week.
This one seems obvious, but make sure you take water with you when out and about and keep sipping it during the day, even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty – dehydration can easily creep up on you. It’s also important to make sure you drink water when drinking alcohol – drinking one alcoholic drink to one soft drink is one way to make sure you stay hydrated in the hot weather.
Stay out of the sun
Keep out of the sun and stay in the shade or, even better, indoors during the afternoon, the hottest part of the day in much of Spain. Have a post-lunch rest and head back outside once the sun has set later in the evening when temperatures will have – hopefully – dropped a few degrees.
Choose cool activities
If you do want to see some sights during the day, opt for places like museums and galleries, where you will be able to browse in the comfortable air-conditioned atmosphere.
Wear sun protection
Make sure you lather on the suncream (factor 30 minimum) and wear a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
The British Foreign Office is advising travellers to take care when out in the sun – check the National Travel Health Network and Centre website for advice on sun protection.
It is also advising travellers to check on the outbreak of forest fires with the local civil protection agency, and to report any seen by immediately dialling the telephone number 112.