Edition 1496
13 October 2018
Edition: 1496

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Portugal to break temperature records

by Brendan de Beer, in News · 02-08-2018 10:17:00 · 0 Comments

After recording a mild July, which had threatened to be one of the coolest in decades, the month of August has started with a red alert being issued due to extreme hot weather. Concerns are such that the Armed Forces have been called on to support rescue services already on the ground as temperatures could reach new record highs.

Portugal to break temperature records

The Portuguese Met Office has in the past few days issued successive updates on the heatwave, with projected maximum temperatures now expected to top existing records in a number of areas.
“There could be new record highs in several locations”, said the Met Office, adding: “Highs are expected to climb to around 45 degrees Celsius while lows will approach 30 degrees Celsius in many areas.”
Officials from several agencies have been placed on high alert, with thermometers having started their upward climb on Wednesday.
The peak of the hot weather will be this Friday and Saturday, with Lisbon among the localities where record highs could be set. Forecasts are pointing to a high of 44 degrees Celsius this Saturday.
The highest the Mercury has ever climbed in the capital was on 1 August 2003 when it reached 42.0 degrees. The highest recorded temperature in Portugal was also logged on the same day, when thermometers in Amareleja reached 47.4 degrees. As it stands, both Évora and Portalegre in the Alentejo have been told to brace for highs of 46 degrees between this Friday and Sunday.
While coastal areas along the Algarve are set to be the coolest in Portugal this coming week, with highs in the region of 35 degrees, forecasts show that Silves will see maximums soar above 40 degrees on at least two days in the coming week.

Sahara to blame
The excessive heat, brought into Portugal from the Sahara, is also expected to last well into next week. While average highs are set to drop to just below 40 degrees, nights are predicted to be particularly warm, with only a handful of regions seeing lows of below 20 degrees.
The southerly breeze which has brought with it the exceptionally hot weather has also been dragging up dust particles from the world’s largest desert across the Mediterranean, resulting in a yellowish tone of the sky across the Algarve and into southern parts of the Alentejo.

Army called in
The high temperatures have meanwhile also seen the Navy and the Army called in to assist members of the Civil Protection Agency.
According to a statement issued by the Armed Forces, the military will be deployed in 13 of mainland Portugal’s 16 districts until at least this coming Sunday and will stand ready to extend this period should the adverse meteorological conditions persist.
The hot weather has also seen firefighters placed on maximum alert in several parts of the country. Most of the Algarve has been placed on the highest advisory since Thursday due to the imminent risk of wildfires, with fears that once ignited, fires could spread relatively fast due to blustery conditions and low levels of humidity.

Ozone alert
As a result, law enforcement officials have been ordered to “exercise zero tolerance” with individuals who fail to adhere to the country’s strict anti-fire regulations during the summer months.
Exposure to ultraviolet rays will also be a risk, especially for the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with respiratory problems.
People have been told to avoid exposure to the sun during peak periods, which range from as early as 11am in some parts to 5pm in the afternoon.
Most regions have been handed a UV rating of 9 or 10 for the coming week, with the highest being 11.
Environmental agency Zero has also cautioned that large urban centres such as Lisbon will breach the recommended ozone levels.
Extreme ozone levels can result in lung damage, inflammation of respiratory passages, intense and increased coughing and a higher probability of asthma attacks.

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Edition 1496
13 October 2018
Edition: 1496

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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