An article full of refreshing ideas to efficiently combat the summer heat and Terral in Malaga, how to sleep well on tropical nights, how to prevent heat stroke and much more!
Everything you need to know about Terral
“There will be Terral…!” “Terral what…? There will be what…?”
Our friends located in Malaga will most probably have already experienced it at least once, as it usually happens every summer about 5 or 6 times. But… What is it?
What is Terral?
Terral wind is a local phenomenon in Malaga, Estepona, the Guadalhorce Valley and Velez-Malaga.
It is a strong inland wind from the northwest that warms up considerably during its trajectory. It reaches the coast down the river basins and therefore tends to occur in places with large rivers.
Terral in summer is very “dreadful”: Temperatures can rise enormously in a few minutes when the wind reaches the coast.
Terral is an area-based weather phenomenon. Within less than ten kilometres there can be differences of up to ten degrees. Sometimes Marbella has not exceeded 34 degrees while the neighbouring Estepona has reached 44 degrees.
Terral does not have an exact duration: It can last three, four, five days or a few hours, also depending on the location in Malaga. It can be strong in a specific inland area and yet not reach the beach area.
It literally dries out the nostrils, throat and eyes in less than a minute.
Imagine yourself in front of an open oven and blowing the air in your face with a hairdryer. This roughly describes the feeling.
Another rather unpleasant feature is that it does not cool down in the evening.
When normally one can expect a cooler breeze in the evening, the oppressive heat simply continues and makes a good rest very difficult. And with bad luck, the next day it’s the same again.
No, we are not exaggerating.
How to survive Terral
If Terral is forecast for a particular day, take no risk.
Close all the windows and lower the blinds to keep your room cool.
Do you know how to prepare Gazpacho, Ajo Blanco or Salmorejo (cold soups that are excellent to combat the heat)? Prepare a big jug and keep it in the fridge along with other cold drinks you might fancy!
If you have to do shopping or other errands, do it early in the morning.
Water plants also in the morning or in the evening.
Always carry a sun hat, sunglasses and a small bottle of water. I also found it refreshing to carry small handkerchiefs to wipe sweat from the forehead.
If you use public transport: You might also find a small bottle of cologne very useful to sniff in case your fellow travellers sweat too much. Don’t underestimate it, it will save you from more than one annoyance.
Have you ever seen Spanish women with their fans? Well, there’s a reason for that! Use it, you’ll love it! Don’t be afraid to be ridiculous!
Personally, I have developed a version of fan and a little spray bottle with water and a drop of essential oil that I like. Spray it all around you and then fan yourself. Instant refreshment guaranteed, addictive!
If you can, avoid the middle of the day in the street and preferably don’t do sport if you don’t want to collapse with a heat stroke.
You smile and think you are trained and strong and can handle it? Just yesterday a 25-year-old man died of heat stroke while working in the garden.
And of course, you won’t leave children or dogs in your parked car.
If you are in an air-conditioned public place, wear a thin shawl. The massive change in temperature can quickly cause a cold.
And finally, the sea – do you think it’s the best place to be safe from the heat?
Before swimming, check the flags: green is fine for swimming. Caution is necessary with yellow. Red is high risk and bathing is forbidden.
Take it easy dear friends. Enjoy our delicious Mediterranean diet, which is perfect for this heat, and discover first-hand the benefits of a comfortable siesta. Life is good!
Is it true that you can fry an egg on asphalt in this heat?
“It’s hot enough to fry an egg…”. It’s a well-known saying that many have put into practice with entertaining videos circulating on social networks: Frying an egg on the pavement.
Is it true? Watch it in the experiment.
Sorry, all these videos are fake. The frying pan was probably heated very well before in a traditional way. Even if the asphalt reaches 50ºC, it is not enough. To fry an egg, it has to reach temperatures of 100 degrees.
After 3 hours, the egg is cooked, so much is true.
How to prevent heat stroke
Given the high temperatures during the summer in Malaga, it is worth repeating a few simple tips to follow to avoid fatal outcomes that not only affect the elderly and children, although they are especially vulnerable.
- Avoid going out during the hottest hours of the day and physical activities such as sports, gardening or DIY.
- When going outside, it is advisable to walk in the shade or wear head protection and light, loose-fitting cotton clothing, preferably light-coloured.
- In the middle of the day, it is preferable to stay indoors and in cooler rooms. Indoors, windows should be kept tightly closed as long as the temperature outside is higher than inside. A good alternative is to spend these hours in an air-conditioned shopping centre.
- Hydration is essential: Always carry a bottle of WATER. Drink as much as possible, even if you are not thirsty. The best drink is water, at room temperature, not too cold.
- Repeat showers or baths throughout the day to cool down. An alternative option is to wet your clothes.
- Alcoholic drinks: Many people are unaware of the fact that alcohol dehydrates the body, because it facilitates the elimination of water through urine and increases the level of sweating.
- It is advisable to consume fruit and vegetables in moderate amounts. Avoid hot, heavy and copious meals (have you tried Gazpacho?).
Remember that our pets can also suffer from heat stroke. Do not leave your pet in a parked car, not even for 5 minutes. In only a few minutes, the inside of a closed car can reach more than 50ºC.
It is also not enough leaving the window slightly open or parking in the shade. If you love your pet, just don’t do it.
And speaking of dogs: Did you know that hot asphalt can burn their paws?
Follow this simple rule: Put your hand upside down on the asphalt for five seconds just before walking your dog. If you can hold it for five seconds without getting burned, you can walk your dog because he can walk on the asphalt without any problems.
The 5-second rule consists of putting your hand upside down on the asphalt. Photo: Guardia Civil
– Emergency telephone number: 112
Tips for refreshing sleep in Malaga´s tropical nights
There are nights in Malaga which are above and beyond “Tropical Nights” and are more infernal with values of 27 or 28 degrees which make it absolutely impossible getting a good night´s rest.
The 2nd of July 2020 was a historic hot night in Malaga with 31.6 degrees at midnight, the highest in the last 78 years in Malaga city.
But don’t think it was an isolated case, in 2021 we also had a hellish night with 30ºC.
The Huffington post published some really funny (and useful) tips like hanging the feet out of the bed into a bucket of water.
Now it’s our turn with our home remedies (no air conditioning involved) tested in extreme conditions like Granada in August or Malaga with Terral (pray you don’t have to experience either of them).
Here we go.
“Fire-proof” remedies for Terral in Malaga
When you know a Terral day is coming, close all the windows and doors in the morning and pull down all the blinds to keep the house cool.
If it’s not a moist heat, there works very well evaporative cooling (wipe the floor wet, hang up wet sheets, wet hair, wet neckerchief) which you can combine perfectly with a floor ventilator which will give great relief.
To survive in the exterior: Walk always in the shade, with sunhat and sunglasses (Terral wind will dry your nostrils and eyes in less than a minute). Use a wet neckerchief, a little spray bottle with water (and maybe a drop of essential oil) and a hand fan. Spray the water over your face and fan yourself – immediate relief under any conditions, yet watch out, it´s addictive!
Dine light as heavy meals require generating more heat to digest them. A delicious local solution is Gazpacho or Salmorejo, try it out!
You´re back home, it’s still boiling at 11 pm and you just want to get some rest.
Fill a plastic dishpan with cold water (and some drops of essential oil like lemon) and place your feet in there. Can be perfectly combined with temporary exposures to the ventilator.
Personally, we have tried the wet sheets under extreme conditions where at 4 am we had to get up again to wet them again because they had already dried.
We have not tried yet putting cooling elements around the bed and in front of the ventilator nor have we put the sheets and pillow in the freezer but we might try that some night.
Shower (head included) before you go to bed although not too cold as your body will create more heat to compensate.
If you bear sleeping with a pyjama in that heat, you can moisten it or as well moisten a cloth and put it on the forehead.
Eye masks are very effective for headaches induced by heat.
Have you more ideas and experience in extreme climate and during Terral in Malaga?