People take to the beach as a winter heat wave hits much of Spain

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s weather agency says abnormally high temperatures for the season are set to continue in many parts of the country over the weekend. The hot spell has led to an almost summer-like feel in many coastal areas as people take to the beaches to sunbathe or have a winter swim.

The country’s AEMET weather agency said the high temperatures affecting southern Europe are due to an anticyclone carrying a hot air mass from further south. It said that the lack of cloud cover also led to increased temperatures.

Just last week, Spain and other parts of Europe were hit by bitterly cold weather and rainstorms, which in turn followed freezing temperatures and snowfall in many parts of Spain.

This past week has seen many cities reach the highest temperatures for this time of the year for more than 20 years, said AEMET spokesman Marcelino Nuñez. On Thursday, the interior eastern town of Chelva recorded a temperature of 29.6 degrees Celsius (85 Fahrenheit), he said.

Minimum and maximum temperatures are averaging 5-10 degrees Celsius (9-18 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal, the agency says.

The good weather has led to busy beaches from southwestern Cádiz to northeastern Barcelona, scenes normally associated with summer months.

Núñez said it was not possible to put the current high temperatures down to the climate crisis without carrying out studies, but they follow a trend of increasingly more frequent periods of unusually high temperatures that experts are associating with climate change.

“What is clear is that climate estimates, long-term climate projections, from the past 20 years, have been saying that these phenomena are going to occur more and more, and we are seeing this little by little,” he said.


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