Heatwave affecting parts of southern Europe reaches new intensity, with temperatures rising to 45C
Sam JonesLast modified on Sat 4 Aug 2018 22.18 BST
Marcelino Raimundo, 68, has seen many summers in Amareleja, the small Portuguese town that is consistently one of the hottest places in Europe. “Every year we see temperatures rise above 40C,” said Raimundo, his long-sleeved shirt unbuttoned, as the chirps of cicadas reached a climax in the stifling heat. “But the weather is changing: only last week we had 33C, and now it has jumped to 45C. We have thunderstorms in January and October, when previously we would only have them in May.”
In the latest phase of a summer of extreme weather that has brought blistering heat to Britain, drought to the Netherlands and deadly wildfires to Greece, the heatwave affecting parts of southern Europe has reached a new intensity this weekend. According to IPMA, the Portuguese weather agency, about a third of the country’s meteorological stations broke temperature records on Saturday. The highest was 46.4C in Alvega, 120km from Lisbon.
In the southern Algarve, more than 700 firefighters battled a forest fire that had spread across 1,000 hectares near the town of Monchique; in the capital, Lisbon, the usually busy terrace cafes of the Chiado district were quiet as people stayed indoors. And in Amareleja, a sleepy town as famous for its hot summers as for its full-bodied red wines, the large outdoor thermometer at the Farmácia Portugal read 44.5C just after midday. Petrol station attendant Joaquim, however, was not fazed: the past couple of days had been abnormal, he said, but locals were “used to the heat and know how to adapt”.