April in Portugal: “the hottest and driest in 86 years”

Perennial concerns about drought are back in the news after meteorological data for April shows Portugal was hotter and drier last month than it has been since records began 86 years ago.

With the country now registering 96% of its territory in states of drought (moderate to severe), the only good news is that rain is on the way, and that from May 10 we should be seeing warm summer-like temperatures plummet for a few days at least.

But meteorologists doubt that any of the coming rain will make that much of a difference to the overall picture.

Said one to Correio da Manhã tabloid: “Habitually May does not make up for the lack of rain” during the winter.

Data from Portuguese environment agency APA reports that a number of the country’s dams are “below the average registered for levels observed over the last 25 years” – the ‘barragem do Sado’ being one of the worst (down to just 35.7% of capacity).

The situation has caused dams’ production of electrical power to drop, too.

CM reports that data from REN, which operates the national grid, said production dropped by 73.9% in April, purely due to the lack of available water.


With situations of drought reported to be severe in the north, moderate in the centre/ upper Alentejo, the Algarve and lower Alentenjo are actually doing better than everywhere else.

CM reports that the level of water in the Algarve’s soil is “normal for April”, and that rainfall across the territory (from Vila do Bispo, to the eastern Algarve) has actually been slightly higher than usual for this time of year.

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