Keeping cool in Majorca during the heatwave. But watch the water consumption. There are near drought conditions as well. | EFE


The Aemet meteorological agency has given notice of the "first heatwave" of the summer, with temperatures on the mainland expected to register maximums of 42C. For much of the country the heatwave will last until Wednesday, but along the east coast and the Balearics it will extend into Thursday. Highs in the Balearics are forecast to be 36C.

With atmospheric stability over the mainland and very dry air in the interior, the temperatures will be high enough to produce orange alerts, meaning significant risk. Instability will creep in today into the northwest of the country, pushing cooler weather across Spain. This is not expected to arrive in the Balearics until Thursday or possibly Friday.

Parts of Spain at greatest risk yesterday of very high temperatures (42C) were around Toledo and Ciudad Real. Highs of up to 40C on the mainland are expected to last until tomorrow.

The Balearic government's health directorate is meanwhile concerned about the risks of food poisoning because of higher temperatures. Its food safety division has issued advice about avoiding the potentially serious consequences of bacteria such as salmonella. At their most extreme, especially where young children and infirm adults are concerned, these can result in death. For others, they can cause more than diarrhoea and vomiting, as renal problems and disorders of the nervous system can arise. Pregnant women can also suffer foetal disease.

Because of all this, it is issuing reminders to keep refrigerators at between 0 and 5C, with freezers at minus 18C, and to store fresh produce - such as meat, fish and vegetables - separately. Food in the fridge should be allowed to have sufficient space so that cold air can circulate.