Children in fountains in Palma. | Miquel À. Cañellas


The heat wave in Spain produced highs of 40C or more in eight mainland regions on Wednesday.

The highest temperature was 45.5C in Almonte in the Huelva province of Andalusia. Olivenza in Badajoz, Extremadura, was just behind at 45.4. The extreme temperatures were more widespread than they have been, extending east to Valencia, where there was a high of 43.4 in Xativa.

The heat wave, explains the Aemet met agency, is being caused by an extensive and powerful Atlantic anticyclone which is centred close to the British Isles. This is creating atmospheric stability throughout Spain and, added to hot air mass from north Africa, is causing a heat wave that could be "the most potent" and "significant" in intensity and duration for July or August in Spain. This is due to temperatures exceeding 44C for several days in a row.

Spokesperson Cayetano Torres says that the heat wave officially began on July 10 and is expected to end on July 16, but adds that there could still be some very high temperatures after the 16th. In Mallorca, which hasn't been affected by the extreme temperatures but has nevertheless been very hot, maximums in the interior are currently forecast by weather stations on the island to reach 39C on July 18 and 19.

Even so, Aemet anticipates that there will be a marked drop in temperatures in the west of the mainland on Saturday and that this will extend to the rest of the mainland and to the Balearics on Sunday.

The record temperature in Spain was set on August 14 last year - 47.7C in La Rambla in the Córdoba province of Andalusia.