Portugal could face third heatwave of April
Portugal is facing the possibility of a third heatwave this month, with temperatures due to reach as high as 35ºC in southern regions.
The unusually hot weather is being caused by an anti-cyclone located between the Madeira archipelago and the mainland which will affect the weather in much of the Iberian Peninsula. Meteorologists predict that new records for maximum temperatures in the Alentejo could potentially be set.
“The tendency is for temperatures to gradually rise, especially maximum temperatures, with the highest values estimated for Thursday,” Bruno Café, meteorologist at Portugal’s sea and atmosphere institute (IPMA), told Público newspaper.
The north and centre regions are expected to reach maximum temperatures ranging from 27ºC and 32ºC degrees, while in the south they are due to reach between 30ºC and 35ºC.
The weather will be milder in the northern coastal areas, where maximums are unlikely to go beyond 25ºC.
However, there may be record-breaking temperatures in some southern cities, such as Beja and Évora in Alentejo. The average maximum temperature for Beja in April is 20.5ºC, but on Thursday, temperatures could reach 36ºC, breaking the previous record of 33.2ºC in 1945. Évora’s average maximum temperature for April is 18.5ºC, way below the 34ºC that could be reached on Thursday, breaking the previous record of 32.4ºC in 2008.
“This will be the third heatwave of the month, if it occurs,” said Bruno Café, the first having taken place between April 2 and 11 and the second between April 15 and 20.
According to IPMA, a heatwave occurs when maximum temperatures are at least five degrees above the average maximum temperature for six consecutive days.
Similar heatwaves are expected in Spain, where El País newspaper reports that towns like Córdoba and Seville could reach temperatures of 36ºC and 38ºC, respectively, on Thursday.
78.6% of Portugal facing drought
Portugal’s ongoing drought remains a major concern, with IPMA reporting 78.2% of the country facing some form of drought on April 15.
The intensity of the drought has increased particularly in the south of Portugal, with 18.6% of mainland Portugal facing severe drought and 10.1% facing extreme drought.
“We are entering a difficult period again,” Minister of Agriculture and Food, Maria do Céu Antunes said at a meeting of the Permanent Commission of Prevention and Monitoring of the Effects of Drought on Friday, with the Alentejo and Algarve being the most discussed regions at the meeting.