France and Spain swelter as Cyclone Yakecan wreaks havoc in South America

Unseasonably high temperatures have been affecting both Iberia and France over recent days. Temperatures have been about 10-15C above average thanks to a southerly flow of very warm and dry air from north Africa.

On 17 May, temperatures across much of Spain, as well as southern and central France, widely exceeded 30C. A top temperature of 35.5C was recorded in the southern Spanish province of Huelva, with a provisional high of 32.9C recorded in the French commune of Montélimar. La Hague near the Channel hit 26.6C, beating the May record for this location set 100 years ago.

On the second day of the hot spell (18 May), temperatures in France peaked at 35.8C in Soorts-Hossegor, with numerous monthly temperature records falling. In Spain, a high of 37.2C was recorded in the city of Córdoba. On Thursday, temperatures provisionally peaked close to 40C in Spain with highs widely in excess of 30C across southern France.

Temperatures were expected to intensify on Friday and Saturday across Spain and southern France with this event set to be one of the strongest ever recorded, both in terms of duration and intensity. Across the Spanish interior temperatures are widely forecast to reach 35-38C, with near-record highs of 40-42C expected in the Guadalquivir valley.

Meanwhile, a rare subtropical cyclone has brought strong winds to Uruguay and southern Brazil. Earlier this week, Cyclone Yakecan struck Uruguay before moving northwards into Brazil. The storm was responsible for at least two deaths, with one man killed when a tree collapsed on his house.

In the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, a peak wind gust of 61mph was recorded. In southern Brazil, at least 200,000 homes and businesses were left without electricity. The cyclone also allowed cold air to push unusually far northwards, with temperatures near freezing across northern Argentina, as well as the highlands in south-east Brazil on Tuesday.

Punishingly high temperatures have also continued to affect Pakistan and northern parts of India. On 14 May, 51C was reported in the Pakistani city of Jacobabad, the highest temperature of 2022 to date globally. High temperatures are set to return again next week, with highs again expected to approach 50C.

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