Portugal’s heatwave breaks records

By AP |August 04,2018 - 09:13 PM

LISBON, Portugal — Eight places in Portugal broke local temperature records as a wave of heat from North Africa swept across the Iberian peninsula — and officials predicted the scorching temperatures could get even worse over the weekend.

Temperatures built to around 45 degrees Celsius Friday in many inland areas of Portugal, and were expected to peak at 47 degrees Celsius in some places Saturday. Large sections of Portugal are on red alert on the Civil Protection Agency’s danger scale.

The highest temperature recorded Thursday, when the heat began to rise, was 45.2 degrees Celsius near Abrantes, a town 150 kilometers northeast of the capital, Lisbon, the country’s weather agency IPMA said.

Portugal’s highest recorded temperature was 47.4 degrees Celsius in 2003. Emergency services have issued a red alert through Sunday, placing extra services such as medical staff and firefighters on standby.

In Portugal’s southern Alentejo province, streets were largely deserted. Some farmers chose to work during the night instead of in the heat of the day. Beaches around Lisbon, the capital, were packed.

Some 400 firefighters and five water-dropping aircraft, meanwhile, were battling a wildfire in southern Portugal’s Algarve region.

Portugal sees large wildfires every year, although unseasonably cool weather through the end of July has meant fewer blazes in 2018. The government says only about 15 percent of the 10-year average area has been charred so far this year.

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