The official start of spring in Europe is only a good week away - but in Spain millions of people are already moaning under temperatures that sometimes exceed 30 degrees. Tens of thousands flocked to the Mediterranean beaches to cool off over the weekend, and in some places it was even difficult to spread out the towel. Mallorca had the first tropical night of the year: from Saturday to Sunday the minimum temperatures in areas of the popular holiday island - such as Palma - were over 20 degrees.
Just two weeks ago, Mallorca was still struggling with snow chaos. "Early summer in late winter!" was the headline in "Mallorca Magazin". It's already difficult to fall asleep at these temperatures, experts told the Mallorcan newspaper "Última Hora". "Why is it so warm now?" Many complain online. Some even left the air conditioning on at night. Man-made climate change is suddenly on everyone's lips again.
30 degrees in Alicante - swimming in the sea is possible
One's suffering, the other's joy: "Incredible, I could have shoveled snow at home today," Sabina told the German Press Agency dpa on the phone. With her husband and three children, the Hamburg native went into the - still relatively cool - sea on Saturday in Alicante, which was about 30 degrees warm. "Actually, we had brought the bathing suits with us just to be on the safe side. We would never have thought that they would actually be used here."
The Portopí weather station in Palma recorded 27.3 degrees on Saturday at 2 p.m., the highest temperature for March since records began. As reported by the Spanish weather service Aemet, the previous record of 26.6 degrees was measured in 1981. March records were also broken elsewhere on Saturday. In Castellón in the Valencia region, the mercury column even reached the mark of 30.8 - 0.6 degrees above the previous high. On Sunday it got a little "fresher" - but with values that still reached up to 30 degrees, for example in Murcia. In the next few days it will remain warm in many places, according to Aemet.
In general, the climate in Spain, as in other parts of Europe, has been getting hotter and drier for years, which is attributed to climate change. Heat and lack of rain had hit parts of the continent badly last year. With peak temperatures sometimes exceeding 40 degrees, it was one of the hottest years in Spain since weather records began.
The water is already running out
Since the rainfall in parts of Spain was also far too low in autumn and winter, the water shortage is getting worse. The reservoirs are currently just over 40 percent full on average. The average for the past ten years at this time of year was 58 percent. The risk of severe forest fires also remains high.
The situation in Andalusia and Catalonia is dramatic. The reservoirs there are only about a quarter full. In Catalonia in the north-east of the country with the metropolis of Barcelona, water consumption in agriculture and industry is therefore already limited. Only trees may be watered in parks and gardens. If there is no further rain, the head of the regional water authority, Samuel Reyes, expects restrictions on private drinking water consumption from autumn, as he told the newspaper "El País".