Areas of southern Spain such as Seville and Cordoba registered scorching temperatures of up to 44 degrees Celsius on Monday as the first heatwave of the summer hit the Iberian country, sending people to seek shade from a blistering sun.
Heatwaves in June have become more frequent in recent years, part of a global pattern of rising temperatures, widely attributed by scientists to human activity.
"In the last 12 years the frequency of heatwaves in June has tripled," said Ruben del Campo, spokesman for national weather agency AEMET. Six heatwaves have been registered in June since 2011, up from just five in the 35 years before that, according to AEMET.
The weather phenomenon is expected to last until Wednesday, encompassing the southern region of Andalusia, but also Madrid, Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha, where thermometers could reach 40-42C.
"It's terrible. The kids have to come here to cool off because there's no way to stay at home," housewife Elvira Martinez, 27, told Reuters in Madrid, standing by splash fountains along the Manzanares river.
Unseasonal heat affected large parts of the Iberian Peninsula in March and April, a situation that Environment Minister Teresa Ribera called "terrifying".
A protocol that bans some outdoor work during extreme heat conditions is in place in some areas of the country.
"We already have a protocol for the heatwave. We only work seven hours, we start at 7am and finish at 2pm", working in the shade of trees as much as possible, 49-year-old gardener Reimundo Perez told Reuters in Madrid.