LISBON REGISTERED its hottest day of the year last week – Wednesday – with city centre temperatures soaring to 40 degrees centigrade. The Portuguese Meteorology Institute predicted that the wave of high pressure enveloping the whole of the Iberian Peninsular would continue until last Sunday.
The towns of Santarém, Évora, Beja and Coimbra all hit the 40-42 degree centigrade mark during the week.
The fires around Lisbon and Leiria exacerbated by the hot weather, tinder dry conditions and strong winds caused a visible pall of smoke to hang over Greater Lisbon last Thursday night. The 15 fires, raging up and down the country, made international news coverage on BBC and Sky News.The Director General of Health, who warned people, particularly the sick and the elderly, to stay indoors, raised the level of alert to yellow across nine districts, including Coimbra, Lisbon, Santarém, Setúbal, Leiria, Castelo Branco and Portalegre. The scale of heat alerts includes red (grave risk to health), orange (heat wave), yellow (some risk to health) and blue (situation under vigilance).
With a yellow alert, people are advised to avoid excessive physical exertion and stay out of the sun between the hours of 11am to 4pm. Doctors have also been urging the public to drink plenty of water and avoid drinking coffee and alcoholic beverages.