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Spain is on high alert over a searing heatwave – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

Most of Spain was placed on high alert on Wednesday as temperatures soared above 45 degrees Celsius and parts of western Europe were hit by a second heatwave within weeks.

France and Portugal have also experienced searing temperatures this week, and wildfires have broken out in all three countries.

Spain’s state weather agency Aemet said some regions were “suffocating”, notably the worst-hit Andalusia in the south, Extremadura in the south-west and Galicia in the north-west.

They have all been placed on high alert, meaning residents have been urged to exercise caution and watch the weather forecast. Travel was discouraged “unless absolutely necessary”.

Apart from the Canary Islands, all other regions of Spain have been placed on lower alert levels because of the heat.

The highest temperature in Spain was recorded in the Andalusian town of Almonte on Wednesday, where the mercury reached 45.6 degrees Celsius (114.1 Fahrenheit) at 5:30 p.m. (1530 GMT).

Several other southern cities such as Seville and Cordoba experienced temperatures exceeding 44 degrees Celsius.

The heat wave that started last weekend and is expected to last until Sunday.

Wildfires have already burned at least 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) in western Spain near the border with Portugal.

Authorities in Portugal said one person died in wildfires after a body was found in a burned area in the northern Aveiro region.

In Spain, nearly 500 residents were temporarily evacuated because of a fire northwest of Madrid that firefighters tried to control on Wednesday, regional emergency services said.

Heat waves have become more frequent due to climate change, scientists say. As global temperatures rise over time, they are expected to become more intense.

Spain has already suffered from droughts this year, with water reserves down to 44 percent of capacity, compared to an average of 65 percent over the same period over the past 10 years.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Spain was 47.4 degrees Celsius last August.

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