canary islands

Soaring temperatures and calima blanket southern Tenerife

The suspended dust or calima, rising temperatures, and intense heat have forced residents of the southern towns of Tenerife to find ways to mitigate the heat.

Yesterday morning, the southern region of Tenerife experienced a sharp rise in temperatures, a sudden shift after the severe swells that battered its coasts last Wednesday. The General Directorate of Emergencies, acting on forecasts from AEMET and invoking the Canary Islands’ Specific Emergency Plan for Phenomenon Risks, issued an alert for a severe heatwave. This episode was characterized by unusually high temperatures, accompanied by dry air and varying amounts of calima, a type of dust-laden haze that frequently affects the area.

In Arona, the effects of the heatwave were palpable early in the day. By 7 a.m., thermometers in public squares registered temperatures as high as 28 degrees Celsius. Inside homes, the heat was oppressive, exacerbated by the calima which shrouded the skies in a thick haze.

The coastal town of Los Cristianos, part of Arona, saw many of its residents waking up prematurely due to the stifling heat in their homes. The streets were filled early as people sought relief from their uncomfortably warm houses. Carmen, a longtime resident, recounted her restless night, “I didn’t have the air conditioning ready, and had to open the windows. But the heat just swept in, and I couldn’t sleep at all.”

Soaring temperatures and calima blanket southern Tenerife

When asked how they manage the heat and calima, responses varied among the residents. Luisa, sharing a light moment, pointed to her water bottle and quipped, “Me, just like you,” which sparked laughter. The conversation soon turned into a spirited debate among neighbors. While most agreed that cold water and keeping their homes open helped, one resident expressed her disbelief at keeping windows open in such dusty conditions, “During the calima, you keep your house open? Are we crazy?”

This comment ignited further discussions, with opinions divided between allowing the slight breeze to enter and sealing homes to keep out the dust and heat. Those who had not yet found a solution simply resigned themselves to enduring the uncomfortable conditions.

Soaring temperatures and calima blanket southern Tenerife

On the beach, similar measures were noted, although the conversation eventually shifted to the use of air conditioning. The cost of running air conditioners led many to lament the expense, commonly echoing the sentiment, “Do you think I’m rich?” Andrea Fernández, who owns a small beach accessory shop in Los Cristianos, noted her reliance on fans to keep her shop bearable, “I use the fan a lot now. I always keep the door open, but on days like these, in a small space with few air inlets, it’s necessary all day.”

The discussion highlighted a broader social concern mirrored by Juan, a local dominoes enthusiast, who remarked on the changing economic times, “When did using the fan become a thing for the rich?” This sentiment reflected a community grappling with the practicalities of staying cool under the strain of economic pressures.

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