Spanish city first to name heatwaves like hurricanes

Seville in Spain will name heatwaves in the same way as storms and hurricanes as the city struggles with 42C heat.

“Heat Wave Zoe” is the first heat event to officially be named in this way in the world, according to city weather officials.

City authorities elevated their alert systems and issued advice because of the health risk to residents —particularly the most vulnerable.

A spokesperson from proMeteo Sevilla, the heat wave naming and categorisation system, said: “As climate change continues to intensify the temperature, frequency, and duration of heat waves in the region, the new heat wave categorisation and naming system was designed to raise awareness and inform Seville’s residents about the dangerous effects of heat on human health.

“Specifically, it anchors public warning campaigns to a three-tiered category system integrated with the city’s emergency and disaster response plans.

“The categories are based on the expected excess danger posed by the temperature, humidity, and conditions in the 30 days preceding it, including night-time temperatures, which are a key determinant of health impacts of an extended heat event.”

Heat waves will be named in descending order from the last to first letter of the Spanish alphabet. The names for this heat season are Zoe, Yago, Xenia, Wenceslao, and Vega.

Kathy Baughman McLeod, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock), which oversaw the proMeteo project, said: “We hope this pilot will serve as a model for other leaders and governments to follow as they face pressure to take on this deadly threat.

“People do not have to die from heat.”