Ho, ho, hot! Spain hit by record-breaking 29.9C December temperature as tourists flock to beaches in freak heatwave

13 December 2023, 14:08

Spain has been hit by a freak heatwave.
Spain has been hit by a freak heatwave. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Spain has recorded its highest December temperature on record after being hit by a freak heatwave with highs of almost 30 degrees.

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While those in northern Europe wrap up warm as temperatures continue to drop in the lead-up to Christmas, those in Spain have swapped out their winter jackets for swimsuits in a freak weather event.

Those in Malaga saw temperatures hit 29.9C on Tuesday, meanwhile residents of Valencia and Alicante saw highs of 27C and 24C respectively.

“It's one of the warmest masses of air to have ever overflown Spain at this point in December,” Ruben del Campo, a spokesperson for the national weather agency AEMET, said.

Tourists and Spaniards have flocked to beaches amid the unseasonable temperatures.

The unprecedented heatwave, paired with forecasted bouts of rain, is set to put a dampener on any plans for winter sports.

Jesus Riesco of the national weather agency in Malaga also said: “This has beaten the previous record by a long way, and this is unusual”.

It follows several days of warm air currents across the Iberian peninsula, resulting in Malaga’s record-breaking temperature.

Malaga’s heat has surpassed Grenada’s previously held record of 29.4C in 2010, which is also in the southern Andalusia region.

Read more: Blast of snow and ice to hit UK just before Christmas as Met Office warns cold snap on the way

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Temperatures have neared 30 degrees in parts of Spain.
Temperatures have neared 30 degrees in parts of Spain. Picture: Alamy

The State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) said the unprecedented heat would be “much less likely” if it wasn’t for “the climate changes that have been observed globally and in Spain”.

It comes after a summer of heatwaves across parts of Europe, with temperatures climbing to above 40C in parts, including Spain which recorded four national heatwaves.

The increasing temperatures have been a point of concern for many scientists, however, as according to the AEMET the frequency of heatwaves has tripled in Spain in the last decade.

The summer has also increased by 10 days per decade since the 1980s.

But while tourists and Spaniards have taken advantage of the unusual heat, it’s unlikely to last beyond Wednesday as cooler air is expected to settle in and restore the country to more seasonable temperatures.

It comes as parts of Spain have been hit by drought conditions, with Catalonia warning it may need to declare a state of emergency in January after 37 months of below-average rainfall.

“Work is being done on complementary measures to those included in the Special Drought Plan with the aim of guaranteeing water to the citizenship,” a spokesperson for the Catalan government said.

Those in Malaga have taken advantage of the unseasonable temperatures.
Those in Malaga have taken advantage of the unseasonable temperatures. Picture: Alamy

The Catalan government is also reportedly considering implementing fines for tourists who drink too much water, as well as a ban on commercial projects that “require significant use of water”.

Meanwhile, guests at ski resort Navacerrada outside Madrid have complained of the lack of snow.

“It's a terrifying feeling because this should really be covered in snow or frozen over, but instead it's green and lush for this time of the year,” Tania, 32, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, retired university professor, Vicente Solsona, 66, said it should have three feet of snow.

“We're calmly destroying everything,” he warned.

It comes talks finished in Dubai for COP28, as world leaders agreed to “transition away” from fossil fuels for the first time in a deal approved on Wednesday morning.

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