Spain, Portugal swelter under new heat wave

Spain, Portugal swelter under new heat wave

Firefighters brought Portugal's largest blaze  in the central area of Ourem under control on Monday
Firefighters brought Portugal's largest blaze in the central area of Ourem under control on Monday. Photo: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP
Source: AFP

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Temperatures were set to soar above 40 degrees Celsius across large parts of Spain and Portugal on Monday as the Iberian Peninsula faces a second heat wave in less than a month.

The mercury was to hit 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) in Spain's southeastern region of Extremadura and 41 degrees in Andalusia, Spain's meteorological agency AEMET said.

Temperatures in Spain's normally cooler northwestern region of Galicia were predicted to rise above 35C.

"This heatwave really has the potential to be exceptional," said AEMET spokesman Ruben del Campo.

The heat wave began Sunday and could "last nine or ten days, which would make it one of the three longest heat waves Spain has seen since 1975," he told AFP.

Heat waves have become more likely due to climate change, scientists say. As global temperatures rise over time, heat waves are expected to become more frequent and intense.

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June also saw Spain grapple with temperatures above 40C in swathes of the country.

And the previous month was Spain's hottest May since the beginning of the century.

In August 2021 Spain recorded its highest ever temperature when the mercury reached 47.4C in the southern town of Montoro.

In neighbouring Portugal the thermometer topped 44C over the weekend, fuelling wildfires and vast smoke clouds which were visible in the capital Lisbon.

Firefighters brought under control Monday the largest blaze which was burning in the central municipality of Ourem, local officials said.

While temperatures eased somewhat in Portugal on Monday they were expected to soar again in the coming days with 44C forecast for the southeastern city of Evora.

Water reservoirs in Spain stood at 45.3 percent of capacity on Monday, well below the average of 65.7 percent recorded during this period over the past decade.

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Source: AFP

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