Extreme temperatures could approach 50ºC in Portugal

Written By Lara Silva

The extremely high temperatures in Portugal will remain until at least the next weekend, but the heat wave could last up to four weeks. Temperatures could reach 48ºC on Thursday, in Coruche in the district of Santarem. This would be a record high temperature in Portugal. Temperatures could thus approach 50ºC in Portugal which would be a first in the country’s history. 

The Portuguese Institute of the Ocean and Atmosphere (IPMA) argues that this heat wave could break a previous record from the region of the Alentejo. In 2003, the temperature record occurred in Amareleja when thermometers hit 47,3ºC. 

The IPMA is still deciding whether it will declare a red alert in mainland Portugal but has announced that the extremely high temperatures will remain for the next three to four weeks. Currently, Portugal is under an orange alert. 

The whole of mainland Portugal will be facing temperatures over 30ºC until at least Tuesday, July 19. The districts with the highest temperatures will be Santarem with 47ºC, Evora with 45º C, Portalegre, and Braganca with 43ºC, Lisbon with 42ºC, and Setubal with 41ºC. 

According to the IPMA weather predictions for Portugal, only the districts of Porto, Viana de Castelo, and Faro will be able to escape the extreme temperatures. However, even these districts will not face temperatures below 35ºC.  

The President of the IPMA, Miguel Miranda says that this will be a period of “enormous stress”, particularly for firefighters due to the risk of fire. He has alerted the public to the threat of fires under such high temperatures, as well as mentioned vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly who live alone. 

Unfortunately, over the weekend alone there have been around 250 fires in mainland Portugal due to the low humidity and high temperatures. 

Prime Minister Antonio Costa took to Twitter to say: “This is a weekend of high risk. Do not make fires and do not use machines! Preventing fires is the best help we can give to firefighters. Portugal calls for all!”.

The National Maritime Authority has announced important recommendations for beach goers: hydration, sunscreen, and avoiding direct sun exposure, particularly between 11 am and 5 pm. Light meals and loose clothes are also recommended, as well as wide hats and sunglasses. The authority also said that physical activity should be avoided at all costs including indoor and outdoor sports.

While high temperatures are normal during Portuguese summers, these temperatures are 5ºC to 10ºC higher than the average summer.  

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