THE Balearic government will hold its first meeting on Tuesday morning, to co-ordinate action to deal with the heavy rains which mark the end of the summer and often cause serious flooding in the island. This was revealed yesterday by environment minister Jaume Font, who said that the meeting would be attended by representatives of seven government ministries, the government representative, the three Island Councils, the fire brigade, the weather centre and the Federation of Municipalities. The ministries which will be represented are the interior, environment, agriculture, tourism, public works, economy and health.
In the meantime, the heatwave began to disperse halfway through yesterday afternoon across the northern half of the mainland of Spain. Late today and above all tomorrow, it will give way to storms, some of them very strong, in Cantabria, the Basque Country, Navarra, La Rioja and the north of Aragón, particularly in the area of the Pyrenees mountains. The Head of Area Forecasting at the National Institute of Meteorology (INM), Angel Rivera, said that the storms may stretch as far as the north of Catalonia on Sunday. He also commented that “it is difficult to be accurate about the intensity” of this phenomenon because it is very variable. It is possible that after the lengthy period of intense heat that we have been experiencing, that some storms could be very strong indeed. He felt it as well to remind people to take appropriate precaution, particularly as Spain will be enjoying a holiday weekend starting from today. There may be those who are leaving home to spend these days in country or mountain areas and who will therefore be potentially more at risk. Regions in Spain other than those mentioned could be subject to thundery showers, for example in the Iberian mountain range in the centre of the Peninsula and in the interior section of eastern Andalucia. Regarding the high temperatures, the meteorologist reported that the forecast “cooling” was “delayed by some twelve hours”, so that it was not until halfway through yesterday afternoon that the northern part of the mainland began to feel the effects. Sunday will be “the coolest day in the Eastern half of the Peninsula”. It is hoped that thermometers will register a drop of some 8 or 10 degrees in Castilla y Leon and in the interior of Aragón, 8 or 9 degrees in Extremadura, 5 or 6 degrees in Andalucia and 4 or 5 in the centre of Spain. Lower temperatures will be felt to a lesser extent in the south-east of the Peninsula, more towards the interior (around a couple of degrees) than on the coast where hardly any difference will be appreciated, in fact there may instead even be a couple of degrees increase. There will be a tendency for temperatures to rise again on Monday and Tuesday of next week, but they will remain more representative of levels normally experienced in August, that is to say “high”, around a maximum of 30 or 32 degrees in Castilla y León; 34 or 35 in the valley of the river Ebro; between 35 and 36 in the centre of the Peninsula and between 37 and 38 degrees in Andalucia for the whole of the week. According to Rivera, this period of relief from the heatwave brings the episode to an end. Nevertheless, it has resulted in the Institute of Meteorology issuing storm warning advice.


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