Spain hit by heat wave with temperatures above 44ºC

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A heat wave enveloped much of Spain on Sunday, pushing temperatures to extreme levels and locals and tourists alike seeking shade and cooling water.

National weather agency AEMET has issued heat warnings for most of the country, with the thermometer expected to rise above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the second day in a row in Madrid and the southern city of Seville.

Spain’s first bout of extreme heat of the year is expected to spread eastward on Monday and then wane. Only a piece of Spain’s northern Atlantic coast will be spared.

Some sought respite from the scorching heat in the air-conditioned galleries of Madrid’s Prado Museum, whose collection includes works by Rembrandt, Rubens and El Greco.

“We thought this would be a good plan for a day like today,” said Rosa Alfageme, 44, as she waited in line with her husband and six-year-old daughter to enter the museum.

“It’s like this every year, we almost forget,” Alfageme said, adding that the family has no air conditioning at home.

Others went to nearby Retiro Park, home to a large man-made lake, or to municipal swimming pools.

Tickets for all 19 of the capital’s outdoor pools sold out on Sunday. Capacity was limited due to virus security measures.

Authorities advised people to drink water regularly, wear light clothing and avoid prolonged sun exposure.

Temperatures could reach 44 degrees Celsius on Sunday in the Guadalquivir Valley near Seville, according to meteorologists.

The highest temperature ever in Spain is 49C.

(AFP)