Wednesday 21 February 2018

Phew! Temperatures soar on Iberian Peninsula

Children play as they cool down in a fountain beside the Manzanares river in Madrid. Photo: AP
Children play as they cool down in a fountain beside the Manzanares river in Madrid. Photo: AP

Carla De Wintour in Lisbon

Spain and Portugal both issued weather alerts yesterday, advising residents to take extra care as temperatures soared above 40C (104F) in some southern areas.

The Iberian Peninsula was sweltering in a heat wave brought on by a mass of hot air flowing north from Africa to Europe in recent days, though recorded temperatures fell shy of the day's forecast of a maximum 44C (111.2F).

With the temperature in Cordoba hitting 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 Fahrenheit), Spanish authorities placed the southern city on alert due to "extreme risks" from the heat.

People across the southern half of Spain flocked to beaches, swimming pools and fountains.


In Portugal, a high of 37C (98.6F) was recorded in the eastern city of Beja, while the capital, Lisbon, sweltered in 35C (95F) heat.

Portugal's General Directorate for Health recommended staying out of the sun between 11am and 5pm.

Iberia is forecast to start cooling down from today when the heat wave is due to move into northern Europe, including the UK.

Portuguese authorities also warned of a high risk of forest fires in wooded areas of central and northern Portugal.

Official statistics show that after an uncommonly dry winter and spring, almost 54pc of the Portuguese mainland was enduring extreme or severe drought at the end of May.

With little rainfall in June, that percentage is expected to rise.

Meanwhile, in the UK an impending heatwave could see the mercury reach 35C (95F) tomorrow, and temperatures are predicted to be high all week.

Social workers and other council staff in the UK have been placed on high alert to help those who might be struggling as temperatures are expected to soar.

Irish Independent

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