Portugal swelters in near record heat as fires rage

Portugal swelters in near record heat as fires rage

Portugal swelters in near record heat as fires rage

Portugal and Spain endured scorching sunshine on a day which seriously threatened to break a 30-year European heat record.

Earlier this week, Met Office forecaster Richard Miles warned: "48C is the most realistic maximum temperature in inland Spain and Portugal, but there's a chance it could be hotter".

Bookmakers Ladbrokes cut odds to evens on August highs beating Britain's 38.5C (101.3F) record, set on August 10, 2003, at Brogdale, Kent.

The mercury is being driven higher by a hot air mass moving north from Africa, bringing dust from the Sahara.

Temperatures in Spain and Portugal could rise to the high 40s this weekend as Europe's heatwave reaches "record breaking" proportions.

Summer temperatures close to 40 degrees Celsius are not unusual in southern parts of the Iberian peninsula.

Portugal's Civil Protection agency reported 426 firefighters were putting out or checking fire alerts in the north and centre. Portugal and Spain were hard hit by deadly fires a year ago.

Chinese tariffs on LNG, oil aim at USA energy dominance agenda
The new China tariffs on the USA will impact metals, chemicals, and agriculture-related items. Beijing responded by imposing similar charges on the same amount of USA products.

In Monchique in the south, a forest fire raged on two fronts, aided by "a temperature of 46 degrees but a real feel of 50 degrees" and very little humidity in the air, Victor Vaz Pinto, head of rescue operations in the district, told local media.

Weather experts say Spain's heat will then spread to the United Kingdom, with predictions of 40C in France and "low 30s" in Britain over the weekend.

Friday is expected to be one of the hottest days of the year, with temperatures reaching as high as 35ºC in the South. Fires in Greece, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Latvia have killed dozens of people and forced evacuations.

In northern Europe, Sweden has warned of "a high risk" of wildfires in central and southern Sweden this weekend because of the continuing dry weather and strong winds.

The small Budakeszi game reserve outside the Hungarian capital Budapest said it was helping its animals cope with the heat with iced fruit and a diet with less meat and more nutrients. In Sweden, July was a record hot month and wildfires burnt in parts of the country. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the record for Spain is now 47.3 Celsius, while for Portugal it's 47.4 Celsius.

The water's temperature rose to a record 27.5C (81.5F), dangerously reducing the water's oxygen levels, and there was also concern for the health of its famous resident swans.

Related news