This autumn in Spain will be one of the warmest on record, according to the State meteorological agency, AEMET, which predicts that the three-month period leading up to the winter solstice will be the third-hottest in the last 51 years.
Following a record-breaking heatwave between September 5 nd 7, where at least 35 weather stations throughout the country registered temperatures of over 40ºC – the highest being at Córdoba airport in inland Andalucía, at 45.4ºC – most of the country will have little need to put the heating on until at least Christmas.
Autumn starts officially today (Thursday, September 22) at exactly 16.21 mainland Spain time, and continues until December 21, the shortest day of the year in most of the northern hemisphere and the eve of the first day of winter.
Across the country, average thermometer readings in Spain have been 1.2ºC higher than usual over the summer, AEMET says.
The average round-the-clock temperature for the whole of the country, including mainland and islands, was 24.2ºC in summer – which includes the northern strip, generally one of the coolest parts of Spain with summers closer to those of the UK, and also includes night temperatures which ranged from the mid-20s on the Mediterranean and in the south to single figures in the north.
And although July and August are traditionally considered the main months of the summer, Spain’s hottest days in the last two or three years have been in the first 10 days of September.
From around September 13 this year, temperatures dropped by an average of 8ºC, but remain very springlike on the islands and the south and west coasts.
Rainfall this autumn is expected to be exactly the same as in any typical year, AEMET says, although at present this could mean anything on the east coast which is suffering from an ongoing drought.
October usually brings a three- or four-day ‘monsoon’ to the Mediterranean, with flash floods causing a temporary shutdown and even serious damage, but the last four years or so have been mostly dry, not only in October but every other month.
In fact, the rainfall shortage in southern Catalunya, the Comunidad Valenciana, Murcia and eastern Andalucía is now into its fourth year and has led to water supply issues over peak tourism season.
So far, only 2003 and 2015 were hotter than this summer, meaning 2016 has been the third-warmest, not only this century but since 1965.
And autumn is expected to follow suit, being the third-hottest of the 21st century and since the mid-1960s, AEMET confirms.