Spain recorded its second hottest and driest March this century, the country’s State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) said on Tuesday.
Following a spell of severe cold weather at the start of the month, the average temperature in March was 11.6 degrees Centigrade in mainland Spain, 1.8 degrees Centigrade above the average for the years between 1991 and 2020.
A record high of 33 degrees Centigrade was registered in the city of Murcia in the southeast of the country. In the Canary Islands (off the west coast of Africa), the average temperatures were three percent above normal.
The weather was much drier than usual, with an average rainfall of just 21.2 millimeters in mainland Spain. This was 36 percent of the precipitation Spain usually experiences in March.
After the month of March, when rainfall was particularly low, the whole of Spain continues to experience meteorological drought, the country’s Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) said. This means that the long-term drought that began at the end of December 2022 persists.
The hot, dry weather has ignited the wildfire season early this year. According to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), wildfires have already burned 53,000 hectares in Spain, making it the worst March since 2008.
Meanwhile, the country’s reservoirs are at just 51.12 percent of capacity, according to Embalses.net, which is considerably below the 10-year average of 66.77 percent, with little or no rainfall in Spain so far in April and little predicted for the coming days.