First Ever Named Heatwave Hits Spain

The world’s first-ever named heatwave, “Zoe” has arrived in Spain, with temperatures reaching 43 degrees Celsius.

Zoe has hit the city of Seville in the Andalusian province of Spain, threatening the lives of its 700,000 citizens with extreme heat this week. 

After local meteorological agency proMETEO Seville formally launched a new pilot program last month for naming and ranking heat waves similarly to hurricanes, Zoe is the first named heat wave to hit Seville.

Spain’s main meteorological agency, Aemet recorded temperatures as high as 43 degrees Celsius in the Andalusian province on Tuesday, with the cities of Seville, Badajos, and Merida on the maximum temperature alert.

According to proMETEO Seville names are given only to the most intense heat waves and are listed in reverse alphabetical order, namely, Yago, Xenia, Wenceslao, Vega, and Zoe.

The new heat wave classification system aims to track not only high temperatures but also how they may increase potential health effects when combined with other elements like humidity and time of day.

“The system is based on the analysis of the specific climatic conditions of Seville throughout its history, as well as daily health data,” said proMETEO Seville.

The program is a partnership between the city of Seville and the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock) of the Atlantic Council, along with a number of universities and research institutions in Spain and the Spanish Office for Climate Change.

ProMETEO Seville advised citizens to take preventive measures against the heat and to look after the vulnerable sectors of the population, including children and senior citizens. 

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