The great heat in Spain has not come this early in more than 20 years.

By the weekend, the highest temperatures ever measured in May could be reached in large parts of the country.

In past decades, the earliest heat waves had always started a month later.

According to the forecast by the National Weather Service (AEMET), both high and low temperatures should rise from Wednesday and be up to 15 degrees too high for the time of year, especially from Friday to Sunday.

Tropical nights in Europe

Hans Christian Roessler

Political correspondent for the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb based in Madrid.

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In Seville, Córdoba and Zaragoza they could even exceed 40 degrees, for the capital Madrid up to 37 degrees are predicted.

There are also "tropical nights" with 20 degrees and more.

At the same time, the heat masses from Africa will bring with them a huge cloud of Saharan dust.

It will first cover Andalusia and then spread further across the peninsula to central Europe.

For the Iberian Peninsula, this means a drastic change in weather.

At the end of April it was still snowing and freezing in central Spain.

“The data shows that spring is getting shorter and shorter.

Today's summers are more than a month longer than they were 40 years ago, about seven days per decade.

Summer starts earlier,” says AEMET spokesman Rubén del Campo.

Spanish meteorologists attribute the development to climate change.

For example, temperatures in Spain have risen by around 1.7 degrees since the end of the 19th century, of which around 1.2 degrees in the past 60 years.

Up until early March, Spain and Portugal had been worried about a dry and mild spring in the middle of winter that seemed to go on forever.

A wet March was followed by a cold April, in which it rained heavily, especially on the Mediterranean coast.

In the two months, there was six times more precipitation than in January and February.

The worst weather in more than 100 years has been recorded on the Costa Brava.

Almonds, apricots and cherries were affected by the heavy rain.

But it wasn't that wet across the country.

The cumulative precipitation deficit for the hydrological year that began on October 1, 2021 was halved.

However, according to the AEMET weather service, the amount is still around 20 percent below normal.

According to this, until May 10th, it rained an average of 385 liters per square meter across Spain, while for this period an average of 480 liters per square meter would be normal.

It stayed dry especially in the west, on the south coast of Andalusia, in Catalonia and on the Canary Islands.

The country's reservoirs, which collect water for the hot summer, are only half full.

That is almost a third less than the average for the past decade.

There have always been hot and dry years on the Iberian Peninsula, most recently in 2017/18.

But the experts in neighboring Portugal, which was similarly affected, are also concerned that they are becoming more and more common.