Heat Wave Smashes All-Time Heat Records in Portugal and Spain

August 6, 2018, 12:39 AM EDT

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Above: Smoke rises from a wildfire close to Monchique in the Portuguese Algarve, on August 4, 2018. A village in a tourist area in southern Portugal was evacuated as more than 700 firefighters tackled a forest fire, emergency services said. Image credit: CARLOS COSTA/AFP/Getty Images.

The future-is-now Northern Hemisphere summer of 2018 roasted a new portion of Europe with all-time record heat over the weekend: Portugal and Spain. Portugal's capital city Lisbon hit 111.2°F (44°C) on Saturday, its hottest temperature ever recorded. The previous record was 109.4°F (43°C) in 1981. Portugal's weather service said new all-time highs were recorded at 26 of the 96 weather stations in the country, including all three weather stations in Lisbon, and more than 60 percent of the nation registered temperatures over 104°F (40°C). The hottest temperature in Portugal was 116.2°F (46.8°C) at Alvega in the center of the country, which fell short of the all-time Portugese record of 117.3°F (47.4°C ) set on August 1, 2003 at Amareleja. According to weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera, in Spain, three out of the six weather stations in the capital of Madrid beat their all-time heat records on August 3, as did Reus, Spain, with 103.6°F (39.8°C). Three heat-related deaths were reported in Spain.

Herrera said that the most impressive record from the heat wave was an almost-unimaginable 113.9°F (45.5°C) measured at Setubal, Portugal--the highest temperature ever recorded on the coast of the Iberian Peninsula, trouncing the previous record by an remarkable margin. And on Sunday morning, August 5, a horribly hot minimum temperature of 89.8°F (32.1°C) occurred at Portalegre, Portugal--only 0.1°C from the national record of highest minimum set at Faro on July 26, 2004. Lisbon also set its record of highest minimum ever: 82.8°F (28.2°C) at Gago Coutinho, and 82.4°F (28.0°C) at the Geofisico Observatory, now part of the Instituto Dom Luiz (period of record since 1901). Their previous record was 82.0°F (27.8°C) on August 2, 1964. In the tweet below, weather records expert Etienne Kapikian summarized some significant stations that set new all-time maximum temperature records in Portugal on August 4:

High fire danger in Portugal

The record heat has led to high fire danger in Portugal. Over 700 firefighters were battling a forest fire near the Portuguese town of Monchique in the southern Algarve region, a popular tourist destination. Six people were injured late Saturday as they escaped a separate blaze near the Portuguese town of Estremoz, civil protection officer Jose Ribeiro told the Portuguese state television RTP.

Europe forecast
Figure 1. The high temperature forecast for Monday, August 6, 2018 from The Weather Company predicts large portions of Europe will see temperatures more than 8°C (14°F) above average (dark red colors).

The heat wave ends on Tuesday for Portugal and Spain

Temperatures will again rise above 104°F (40°C) over portions of Portugal and Spain on Monday, which is still extremely hot, but several degrees cooler than what was observed over the weekend. By Tuesday, a cold front will move into the Iberian Peninsula, bringing a merciful end to the heat wave for Spain and Portugal.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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Dr. Jeff Masters

Dr. Jeff Masters co-founded Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. in air pollution meteorology at the University of Michigan. He worked for the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990 as a flight meteorologist.


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