Parts of Spain and Portugal have never been dry in 1,000 years

Parts of Spain and Portugal have never been dry in 1,000 years

Portugal, which suffered from a worsening drought last month, will be affected from Friday by a heat wave that has prompted authorities to guard against the dangers of forest fires.

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“The government will issue a warning statement to limit any activity that could put people at risk,” Interior Minister Jose Luis Carneiro said Thursday after a meeting with top civil protection officials.

He added that this level of alert, which is in effect until the end of next week, should also allow “the mobilization of the necessary means for the efforts that will be required for the next few days.”

As of Thursday evening, nearly a thousand firefighters were trying to put out three major fires that broke out during the day in the center and north of the country, in the provinces of Santarem, Aveiro and Guarda.

The Portuguese Meteorological Institute expects the hot weather to continue until at least next Thursday, which would cause a heat wave in many regions.

In a statement, the association said that temperatures in the regions furthest from the coast, in the south of the country and in the Tagus and Douro valleys, will exceed 40 degrees Celsius as of Friday, and sometimes reach 42 degrees.

“We expect a heat wave with temperatures well above average and for a fairly long period of time,” Jorge Ponte, an IPMA meteorologist, told AFP, noting that “some records could be broken” at the beginning of next week.

This heat wave will hit a country where the drought observed since this winter has worsened last month.

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According to Thursday’s monthly climate bulletin from the Meteorological Institute, 28.4% of Portuguese territory was in a state of “extreme drought” at the end of June, compared to 1.4% in the previous month.

A study published in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience shows that the regions of Portugal and neighboring Spain have not been dry for a thousand years, as the upper Azores shifted under the influence of climate change.

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About the Author: Germano Álvares

"Desbravador de cerveja apaixonado. Álcool alcoólico incurável. Geek de bacon. Viciado em web em geral."

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