A FREAK heatwave is sending temperatures soaring in Spain as an African plume arrives from across the continent.

Holidaymakers will bake in 40C heat after "one of the most intense heatwaves"in years rolls in.

People were pictured desperately dousing themselves in water at fountains in a bid to cool down this weekend.

Tourist hotspots like Seville, Cordoba and Granada will enjoy the highest temperatures, with the mercury hitting a record high for May.

The likes of the Balearics Islands, Andalusia, Madrid, and Catalonia in north-eastern Spain are also set for a scorcher.

The north African plume has pushed temperatures up to 15 degrees above average, seeing the typical summer peak come early.

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Spain's meteorological agency Aemet described the barmy weather front as "the summer starting in the spring".

But the Spanish government have urged Brits soaking up the sun to remember to stay well hydrated and wear light clothing.

Locals were also warned to stay in cool places when possible and to reduce physical activity.

Aemet forecast "extraordinarily hot" temperatures after confirming on Friday the mercury reached 41C in Seville.

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And the city of Segovia also boasted overnight temperatures of above 20C – for the first time ever in May.

Meteorologists have activated the national plan for excess temperatures two weeks early due to the tropical blast heading from the Sahara Desert.

Spokesperson Rubén del Campo said: "The last updates to the meteorological models confirm the extraordinary intensity of this heatwave."

He explained this could be " the most intense May heatwave of the past 20 years" for the country as a whole.

Four Spanish regions were put on alert due to the blistering heat, The State Meteorological Agency said on Friday.

Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Madrid were under a yellow alert, meaning they were at risk from choking temperatures.

And Andalusia was placed under an orange alert, meaning there is a significant risk of overheating.

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However, after a glorious record-breaking weekend, Spain is set to cool down on Sunday across the western third of the peninsula.

But it could also be the hottest day in parts of the eastern side of Spain and in the Balearic Islands.

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