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Weather tracker: Spain’s spring heatwave breaks April records

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Spain has experienced a record-breaking spring heatwave over the past couple of days. A plume of hot, dry air originated over northern Africa, where it has already produced record April temperatures, and spread northwards across Iberia. This resulted in a maximum temperature of 38.7C at Córdoba airport on Thursday, the highest April temperature recorded in Europe. Portugal also beat its April temperature record on Thursday. The heat is expected to subside slightly into the weekend.

In Australia, parts of New South Wales are braced for heavy rain over the weekend. A low pressure system is forecast to affect the region through Saturday and Sunday, with 30-60mm of rainfall expected quite widely, and well over 100mm possible for some coastal areas. The focus of the heaviest rain is likely to be to the south of Sydney. Strong winds are also expected near the coast, especially on Sunday.

In the US, an area of low pressure brought heavy rain and severe weather across parts of the central and southern plains on Wednesday. A cold front associated with this low pressure advanced from west to east across central Texas, forcing stationary warm, moist air upward, which induced several supercell thunderstorms. Large amounts of instability bolstered the longevity of strong updrafts within these storms, promoting the formation of large hailstones.

A person holds hailstones in their hand after a hailstorm in Hurst, Texas.
A person holds hailstones in their hand after a hailstorm in Hurst, Texas. Photograph: @Braynsford1/Reuters

Hailstones with diameters between 5-7cm – similar to that of a tennis ball – fell widely across central Texas, accompanied with gusts of up to 60mph recorded at the surface. The largest hailstone recorded during the event was found just east of Waco, Texas; it was larger than a grapefruit, with a diameter of 11.4cm, caused by a sustained updraft in excess of 100mph.

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Hailstones with a diameter in excess of 5cm were also recorded across much of the Florida peninsula. These were caused by two sea breezes, one either side of the peninsula, converging to create strong uplift, with an updraft ranging between 60-70mph.

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( With inputs from : www.theguardian.com )

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