Fans, air conditioning, fountains and cold drinks were on Monday (June 13) all sought out by Spaniards hoping to cope with the country’s earliest heatwave in more than 40 years.
A cloud of hot air from North Africa has sent temperatures soaring, AEMET forecasters said, and the suffocating heatwave could last in most of Spain until June 16 or 17, few days before summer officially starts on June 21.
With temperatures surpassing 40C (104F) in parts of central and southern Spain, the current heatwave equals the earliest one registered in 1981, according to AEMET.
People rode their bikes through fountains and dogs played with water sprinklers as temperatures soared.
But for some, it was work as normal, despite the heat.
At Toto e Peppino, a famous Italian restaurant in Madrid, 19-year-old pizzaiolo Simone Roma was working at a wood oven.
“You work and you keep going because of passion and because this is what we like to do. It goes through my veins, this is my family,” he told Reuters.
The national weather agency also sent out a warning saying the heatwave could feel even worse across the country due to presence of sand and dust in the air from the Sahara.
Popular tourist destinations such as Sevilla and Cordoba, in which exceeding 40C is not unusual during the summer months, are set to reach up to 43C (109F) in the coming days with capital Madrid sweltering with 41 C on Monday.
2021 was a year marked by extreme temperatures in Spain as snowstorm Filomena paralyzed the country in January with temperatures as low as -21C (-6F) as well as record-breaking heatwaves in August.