The episode of extreme and very unusual heat that is expected in the coming days in large areas of the peninsula and the Balearic Islands will reach its maximum this Saturday, when nearly 30 provincial capitals will reach 35 degrees or more and even thermometers could exceed 40 in seven of them: Badajoz, Ciudad Real, Córdoba, Jaén, Seville, Toledo and Zaragoza.

Daytime temperatures will be 10 to 15 degrees above normal in most parts of the country, and at night they will be 5 to 10 degrees above normal.

This anomalous heat in May – from which the Canary Islands will escape, apart from this early summer situation – is due to the combination of several factors, according to Rubén del Campo, spokesman for the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet).

“Our territory will be included within an anticyclonic ridge, an area of ​​high pressure in the middle and upper levels of the troposphere in which descending air movements occur that lead, on the one hand, to the stabilization of the atmosphere, therefore cloud formation is difficult and the sun strongly heats the surface, and, on the other hand, that moment favors the air going down to the surface, causing air compression and additional heating”, Del Campo explained.

Another factor refers to the fact that the winds will blow lightly if they do or they will be calm. The third will take center stage from Friday or Saturday: the origin of air of North American origin.

“Furthermore, we must add that the days are already long in mid-May, the hours of sunshine are approximately the same as in the first fortnight of August. Therefore, we have many hours of sunshine that noticeably warm the atmosphere,” he added

In principle, the Aemet prediction indicates that the hottest day of this episode will be this Saturday, when the thermometers will mark between 34 and 36 degrees in a generalized way in the interior of the peninsula and Mallorca. In addition, 40 to 42 degrees are expected in the Guadalquivir valley, and there will be between 38 and 40 in other points of the southwest quadrant and the Ebro valley.

A total of 28 capitals could reach at least 35 degrees this Saturday, with the highest values ​​in Badajoz, Córdoba, Jaén and Seville (41ºC), and Ciudad Real, Toledo and Zaragoza (40).

This Friday could be the first day of the year with at least 40 degrees in some provincial capitals (41 in Córdoba and Jaén, and 40 in Ciudad Real and Seville), and this circumstance will be repeated on Sunday (40 in Lleida and Zaragoza), when the extreme heat will begin to subside in the west of the peninsula.

In addition, the dawn of this Thursday could be the first in the first tropical night (that is, when the minimum temperature does not fall below 20 degrees) in large areas of the peninsula, especially on the Andalusian coast and the Ebro and Ebro valleys. Guadalquivir, which will later spread to other places in the southern half and the center of the peninsula, as well as in the Ebro depression.

On the other hand, the Aemet is cautious for the moment and avoids declaring what will happen in the coming days as a heat wave. For this to happen, three factors would have to concur simultaneously: that the episode lasts at least three days, that it affects at least 10% of the territory and that the maximum temperatures are so high that they are between 5% of the warmest that They usually register between July and August.

“This last criterion, that of intensity, is what makes it difficult for the episode to be considered a heat wave in the strict climatological sense. In addition, we have the uncertainty generated by the situation, especially ahead of Sunday. Therefore , to finally see if it is a heat wave in the strict climatological sense, we will have to wait until we have all the data, once the episode is over,” said Del Campo.

However, Del Campo added that, “in the event that this happens, it would be the first time that we would have a heat wave in Spain in May. To date, the two earliest began on June 11, 1981 and on June 13 June 2017”.

He stressed that, whether or not it is a heat wave, it is “very unusual high temperatures” at this time of year. “It could be the most intense warm episode for the month of May in the last 20 years,” she added.

Del Campo also pointed out that “the risk of fires will increase in most of the country” and considered it “possible” that temperature records will be broken for the month of May in some Spanish cities, although he was cautious in this regard. . “These extreme records, by their nature, are always more complicated to predict. In addition, the bar is very high, especially with the warm episode of May 2015, when 40 degrees were also exceeded in points in the south and east of the peninsula. , as well as in the Canary Islands,” he specified.

This warm episode could disappear as of Sunday because then the approach of a low pressure area by the Atlantic is expected. It is a DANA (isolated depression at high levels) that from next Monday will cause a thermal drop and bring showers as it crosses the peninsula from west to east.

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