Red alerts for Portugal and Spain as heatwave hits near-record

April FrancisAug 07, 2018

Meteorological service of Portugal has informed, the previous temperature record was 43 degrees and it was recorded in 1981.

Firefighters from Portugal and Spain were battling a fire which had engulfed dry trees and shrubs near Badajoz in southwestern Spain and Spanish authorities issued a warning that the entire southern region of Extremadura is at an extreme risk of wildfires.

In southern Portugal, the town of Evora was nearly at a standstill as only a few foreign tourists dared to venture out to take photographs of the Roman ruins called Diana's Temple.

"I don't want to say anything bad but yesterday, while I was watching TV, I thought the same could happen here but I'm praying it doesn't", said Eva Stigliano, a Greek tourist visiting Portugal for the third time. We're just drenched with water.

In July, the Scandinavian country witnessed record temperatures and wildfires that extended into the Arctic Circle.

Those who couldn't make it to the sea drank cold beverages under large umbrellas in city squares.

On Friday, a middle-aged man in Barcelona also died as a result of heatstroke after being taken to hospital in critical condition.

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Temperatures built to around 45C (113F) on Friday in many inland areas of Portugal, and are expected to peak at 47C (116.6F) in some places on Saturday. Instead, this information was provided to local authorities and emergency services.

Other parts of Europe have also been experiencing unusually hot, dry weather this summer, bringing drought conditions to some areas.

Almost 700 firefighters and 10 water-dumping aircraft were fighting the biggest outbreak, which has burned 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) near the town of Monchique in the southern Algarve region. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the record for Spain is now 47.3 Celsius, while for Portugal it's 47.4 Celsius.

Forecasts indicate that the hot air from Africa, which turned parts of the sky a dark yellow hue because of the dust it carried, will not abate until early this week.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said the mercury is likely to reach the high 20s and low 30s again, adding that despite the more comfortable temperatures in recent days "it is not the end of the hot weather for the summer".

In France, energy company EDF halted a fourth nuclear reactor near the Rhine and the Rhone Rivers on Saturday to avoid overheating the rivers.

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