Health and environmental authorities are on maximum alert this weekend due to the “worryingly high temperatures” expected in the next few days.
In a press conference today (July 5), the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) informed that the weather forecast for Saturday, Sunday and Monday raises “concern” and recommended a series of preventative measures to ensure people don’t fall victim to the high temperatures, which are equivalent to the heat wave of 2003, when 2,000 people died from heat-related illnesses.
According to president of the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), Miguel Miranda, the temperatures are close to the historic highs recorded in Portugal in 2003.
Lisbon, for example, is expected to record highs of over 41ºC on Saturday (July 6), close to the 42ºC it registered in the summer 2003.
The DGS recommended several preventative measures, with the principal one being to drink a lot of water even when not thirsty and to remain indoors or in cool, shaded places, even in the evenings.
The excessive heat could be potentially harmful to children, the elderly, pregnant women and the chronically ill.
Higher attendance at hospital emergency units by patients suffering the effects of the heat has already been noted and the predictions for the next few days is that the high temperatures could lead to serious health problems if preventative measures are not taken.
The current heat wave is predicted to last at least until Monday, July 8, and will be accompanied by weak winds from the east, which raises another concern – forest fires.
According to IPMA predictions, the regions of the Vale do Tejo and southern inland areas could reach highs of between 38ºC and 44ºC.
In the west coast and inland areas of the north and centre of Portugal, the thermometers should vary between 32ºC and 40ºC and in the south coast between 27ºC and 32ºC.