by Irene Taylor
THE Civil Defence Board has put the Balearics on weather alert as the temperatures continue to soar and demand for electricity reaches new record highs.
The Balearics, along with Cantabria, the Basque Country, Valencia and Murcia, are all on “orange” level alert, the highest one.
Temperatures in the Balearics are expected to reach up to 36ºC, especially in the north, north east, centre and south of Majorca.
But in some regions it will be even hotter - Valencia and Murcia have been told they can expect the thermometer to hit the 40º C mark.
The Civil Defence Board repeated its warnings that in such conditions, people should shelter in well ventilated places and eat light meals, rich in water and mineral salts, at regular intervals.
The heat wave has caused the demand for electricity to soar, and the record of 993 megawatts set on Wednesday was broken shortly before 1pm yesterday, when demand peaked at 998.4 megawatts.
A spokesman for the power company, Gesa-Endesa, has not ruled out further increases in demand over the next few days.
A spokesman said the increase was due to the massive use of air conditioning to combat the heat and repeated the company's appeals to consumers to “make a rational use of energy.” His advice for helping reduce the demand for energy is to protect doors and windows from the direct rays of the sun by using blinds and curtains and not setting the thermostat inside the house below 25ºC, which will lead to a saving of more than ten per cent.
Balearic weatherman Agustí Jansà said yesterday that temperatures at Palma's Son Sant Joan -- 35º C yesterday, 36ºC on Thursday -- were higher than the average for July (31ºC taken over a period of 30 years), but were similar to the same month last year, when the average was 36.5ºC.
The temperatures are expected to remain high over the next few days, Jansà said.
Sa Pobla had the highest temperatures on the island on Thursday, peaking at 36.5ºC, but by yesterday this had dropped to 34º.
Jansà commented that these temperatures are “higher than usual” but pointed out that such “peaks” are common throughout the summer.
On the down side, the high temperatures mean that the sea is hotter than normal, which favours storms (some parts of the Peninsula have already been hit by storms), although the weatherman pointed out that there are other factors to be taken into account.
A 32-year-old man collapsed and died of heat stroke in Talayuela (Cáceres) on Wednesday, the third victim of the heatwave in Spain this summer. In all three cases the victim had been working in the sun for several hours.