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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jeff Masters: extreme, record-breaking temperatures in Spain

All-Time May Heat Record for Europe Falls For the 2nd Time This Month

by Jeff Masters, wunderblog, May 14, 2015

An extreme May heat wave unprecedented in European recorded history has invaded Spain and Portugal, bringing the hottest May temperatures ever recorded on the continent. According to the Spanish meteorological agency, AEMET, at least four stations in the Valencian Community of eastern Spain hit temperatures today in excess of the previous European May heat record set just eight days ago -- a 41.9 °C (107.4 °F) reading at Catenanuova, Sicily (Italy) on May 6. Today's European record-breaking May temperatures in Spain included:

Carcaixent: 42.9 °C (109.2 °F)
Xativa: 42.7 °C (108.9 °F)
Algemesi: 42.6 °C (108.7 °F) 
Valencia: 42.6 °C (108.7 °F)

Many stations in Spain's Valencian community went above their June records, and were near their all-time records for any month. The record set at Valencia Airport today was 6.6 °C (11.9 °F) above the previous highest May temperature, was 4.4 °C (7.9 °F) higher than the record for June, and was the 3rd hottest temperature since records began in 1869 for any month! This week's heat wave began yesterday, when hot air from North Africa flowed northwards over Spain and Portugal, setting all-time May heat records at Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Ciudad Real, Granada, and many other cities. Portugal beat its all-time May heat record with a 40.0 °C (104.0 °F) reading at Beja EMA (old record: 39.5 °C, 103.1 °F, at Regua on May 28, 2001). The most remarkable record yesterday, however, was from the Canary Islands to the southwest of Spain, where Lanzarote Airport hit 42.6 °C (108.7 °F), breaking its old record for the entire month of May by 6 °C (10.8 °F)! The old record was 36.6 °C (97.9 °F) on May 24, 1986. 

Figure 1. Predicted high temperatures for Thursday, May 14, 2015, for Spain from AEMET. Temperatures of 42.0 °C are hotter than any May readings on record for Spain.

According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, Europe also had its earliest 40 °C temperature ever recorded this month -- a 40.4 °C (104.7 °F) reading at San Priamo in southeastern Sardinia on May 5. Prior to 2015, the previous all-time hottest May temperature recorded in Europe was 41.7 °C (107.1 °F), on May 17, 2006 in Andujar, Spain. What's really remarkable about the two European all-time May heat records set this month is that they have occurred in the first half of the month. We would expect all-time monthly heat records to fall near the end of the month, as summer's heat begins to really ramp up. Note that the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) does not maintain official monthly all-time extreme temperature records for the continents, so the records quoted here are from Maximiliano Herrera.

Thanks go to Maximiliano Herrera and Michael Theusner for the temperature records provided in this post.

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