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The Catalan Meteorological Service has decreed maximum alert this weekend as the current heatwave reaches its expected peak. Temperatures in Catalan territory, already high for the last two days, may reach 43° C in parts of the Catalan interior - a figure that was almost reached on Thursday in several localities in central Catalonia: Artés (42.8° C), Gurb (42.5° C), Sant Salvador de Guardiola (41.6° C), Cardona (41.2 ° C) and Òdena (41.0 ° C).

The peak of the heat wave is expected to arrive this weekend, and again, areas in Central Catalonia will be particularly vulnerable, along with the Pre-Pyreneen mountain valleys, points on the Prelitoral range running parallel to the Mediterranean and virtually all of the western part of Catalonia. Accordingly, the MeteoCat service has updated the areas where the danger from the heatwave is greatest for today, Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday especially, almost all areas of Catalonia will be severely affected, apart from some of the coast itself and the high mountains. 

Apart from these maximum temperatures, the heatwave will also mean that night-time minimums ​​will not fall below 25 or 26° C. In other words, there will be tropical nights (defined as those that do not fall below 20° C) and, at some points, torrid nights (nights when the thermometer does not fall below 25° C).

This unusual heat episode has an expiry date. According to current forecasts, on Sunday the mass of hot air that has caused this heatwave will begin to recede. Temperatures are expected to stabilize gradually again from Monday.

Precaution against the heat

Faced with the high temperatures that will be experienced over the next 72 hours, the Catalan health department has called for special precautions and a series of measures to minimize the impact of the heat wave. Among the most important measures are protection from the sun. Steps as simple as keeping household roller blinds down in the heat of the day, opening windows at night and avoiding direct sunlight by wearing hats and caps on the street can make a major difference.

The most outstanding recommendation, of course, is good hydration - which is essential during periods of extreme temperatures. Drink water and juices, avoiding alcoholic beverages as well as hot foods.

During the hottest hours, physical activity should be reduced to a minimum, especially tin the middle of the day. It is recommended that intense activities should be reduced, whether recreational or work.

Finally, it is essential to give help that may be needed to those most vulnerable to the heatwave, such as the elderly or the sick. Health advises visiting people in these situations once a day in order to help them follow the above tips and make sure they are well.

Request to stay away from Collserola  

Meanwhile, Barcelona residents have been asked to stay away from the city's Collserola Natural Park over the coming days. Due to the effects of the heat wave and the high risk of wildfires, Barcelona city council's Albert Batlle has called for "maximum caution" and to "limit" to the maximum any visits to the Collserola range, the 'green lung' just inland from the city, although "for now" he ruled out closing the accesses to the park altogether.

 

Main image: A woman cools herself at a public water fountain during the heatwave / Montse Giralt

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