Spanish school kids seek heat relief… in funeral home

It's hot in Spain, so much so that over-heated students near Madrid were transferred from their school to a cooler place... which turned out to be the local air-conditioned funeral home.

Spanish school kids seek heat relief... in funeral home
File photo of schoolkids in Spain: AFP

The unusual decision is just one of several measures taken in recent days as the country goes through a heatwave with temperatures soaring above 40C (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some places including the Spanish capital.

SEE ALSO: Temperatures reach up to 42C in Spanish heatwave

A spokesman for emergency services in the region told AFP that dozens of “students aged 12 to 18 were transferred to a place close to their school, an air-conditioned funeral home” in Valdemoro near Madrid on Thursday.

The reason? Extreme heat.

“Five students had been taken to hospital, one for heatstroke, the others because they were nervous” due to the heat, the spokesman said.

The school year in Spain ends before the end of June – earlier than in other European countries – due to the summer heat.

But with temperatures hitting record highs, controversy is growing over public schools' lack of readiness for scorching heat, hit as they were by spending cuts during the financial crisis.

The Feuso education union has asked that class ends at midday on days of heatwave, when it says school buildings turn into “saunas.”

Madrid's regional authorities, meanwhile, have allowed establishments to “shorten school days.”

And Jesus Sanchez Martos, a doctor in charge of health issues at the Madrid regional government, suggested students make their own paper fans – a proposal that earned him much criticism.

But it's not just the notoriously roasting Madrid region that is suffering.

In Murcia in the southeast, Antonio Leon, mayor of the town of Torre Pacheco, has called for school buildings themselves to be better conceived.

“Yesterday, a three-year-old suffered from heat stroke and emergency doctors were called in,” he told AFP.

He said the temperature had reached 33.3C in the classroom, in a concrete building.

By law, the temperature in classrooms should be between 17C and 27C, according to the Feuso union.

Leon said air conditioning was the obvious answer, but “another cheaper solution would be to put up awnings that would protect from the radiation of the sun.”

On Friday, Spain's Energy Minister Alvaro Nadal promised to implement a programme to “better insulate” public schools.


Norway to get a taste of summer with 20C days this week

Summer is finally here! Or least it is if you live in southern Norway, where a warm front coming up from Europe will bring t-shirt temperatures of 20C by Thursday, according to forecasts.

Norway to get a taste of summer with 20C days this week

Warm air from southern Europe will combine with a high pressure zone which will bring clear skies and sunshine, with summery weather coming towards the end of the week, Norway’s national weather forecaster Yr has reported. 

“Thursday and Friday especially will be nice,” Ingrid Villa, a meteorologist at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, told the public broadcaster NRK. “Then we will probably get temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius in some places.” 

Patches of 20C warmth are expected both in western Norway around Bergen and in Western Norway around Oslo, with the area around Tromsø expected to have slightly cooler weather, although Villa said that “it will absolutely be something like summer there too”. 

The warm sunny weather is, however, expected to pass northern Norway by, with grey overcast skies expected for much of this week. 

But if you think summer has come to Norway to stay, you risk disappointment as much cooler temperatures are expected next week.  

“There’s nothing unusual in getting an early taste of summer in April and the start of May, and then we can quickly go back to cooler more spring-like weather,” Villa said.