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Spain bakes in record heatwave

Spain and Portugal are seeing record high temperatures for May, with thermometers hitting levels normally only seen in midsummer.

Spain's meteorological agency said the eastern town of Xativa recorded 42.9C yesterday, easily breaking a 2006 record of 40.1C at Cordoba Airport.

Portugal also set a May record, with the southern city of Beja sizzling on Wednesday in 40C heat. Portugal's previous May high was 39.5C in 2011.

The stifling heat stretched across to Spain's Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, where temperatures of 42.4C were recorded on Wednesday at Lanzarote Airport.

The town of Pego in Spain's eastern Alicante region was fighting a wildfire as the temperature soared.

Up to 20 Spanish cities have been affected by scorching temperatures and several regional governments are worried about the effect the heatwave could have on crops, Spain's meteorological agency said.

Authorities in the north-eastern region of Catalonia warned of an increased danger of wildfires, and are assessing claims from farmers who say their crops have been damaged by the hot weather and the lack of rain.

State broadcaster TVE said some estimates calculated the agricultural losses could exceed 50 million euros (£36 million).

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