By HAROLD HECKLE
15 May 2015
MADRID (Associated Press) – Sunny Spain and Portugal are seeing record high temperatures for May, hitting levels normally only reached in mid-summer.
Up to 20 Spanish cities have been hit by scorching temperatures and several regional governments are worried about the effects the heat wave could have on crops, Spain’s meteorological agency said Friday.
It said the eastern town of Xativa recorded 42.9 degrees Celsius (109.2 Fahrenheit) on Thursday, breaking a 2006 record of 40.1 degrees Celsius (104.2 Fahrenheit) set at Cordoba Airport.
Portugal also set a May record, with the southern city of Beja sizzling Wednesday in 40 degrees Celsius heat. Portugal’s previous May high was 39.5 degrees Celsius (103.1 Fahrenheit) in 2011.
The stifling heat stretched across to Spain’s Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, where temperatures of 42.4 degrees Celsius (108.3 Fahrenheit) were recorded Wednesday at Lanzarote Airport.
The town of Pego in Spain’s eastern Alicante region was fighting a wildfire Friday and authorities in the northeastern region of Catalonia warned of an increased danger of wildfires.
Catalonia is also assessing claims from farmers who say their crops have been damaged by the hot weather and the lack of rain. State broadcaster TVE said some estimates calculated the agricultural losses could exceed 50 million euros ($57 million).
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