Red alerts for Portugal, Spain amid smothering heat wave

Casey GreeneAug 07, 2018

Portugal sees large wildfires every year, although unseasonably cool weather through the end of July has meant fewer blazes in 2017.

Much of Germany has also been experiencing an unusually long run of high temperatures, accompanied by much less rainfall than usual.

The current European record of about 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius), which was registered in Athens during the summer of 1977, could be broken in the Iberian Peninsula, which includes Spain and Portugal, said Becky Mitchell, a meteorologist with the national weather service in the United Kingdom (U.K.).

Lisbon broke a 37-year-old record over the weekend to notch its hottest temperature ever as an unrelenting heat wave baked Portugal and Spain.

"Oh it's bad", said tourist Paul Snell.

In Spain, heat warnings were also issued for 41 of the country's 50 provinces as temperatures were expected to reach up to 44C. "We're from Canada and never felt heat like this before. Yeah, I need to hydrate constantly". Others doused their faces and necks in public water fountains, or simply pulled down the shutters and stayed at home. "The combination poses a greater danger to life and health as the area is densely populated", the government agency's operating director Jakob Wernerman said.

Three men died this week in Spain as a result of soaring temperatures.

The heatwave hit on Friday, breaking local temperature records at eight places in Portugal.

The Met Office also predicts that throughout the rest of August, the northern part of the United Kingdom may experience drier conditions while the southern half will likely see thunderstorms.

Flames have consumed more than 1,000 hectares of forest, an area the size of over 1,200 soccer fields, in the hilly Monchique area in the southern Algarve region popular with tourists.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa warns "it's a very serious situation of extreme heat". The dust gave the sky a dark yellow hue in some places.

The U.K.'s Met Office weather service says July was the country's third-warmest month in more than a century.

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

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.

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