MADRID (AFP) –
Europe sweltered Saturday in intense heat with temperatures due to hit near-record highs of 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit) in Portugal, while elsewhere high temperatures melted the asphalt or saw police dogs fitted with shoes.
Here is a roundup:
– Portugal: peak heat –
The heatwave was expected to reach its peak on Saturday, said Paula Leitao of the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), with the city of Setubal not far from Lisbon due to reach highs of 46 C during the day.
By way of comparison, this is not far off the 48 C expected in California’s notoriously parched and scorching Death Valley, one of the hottest places on earth, according to US forecaster AccuWeather.
This comes a day after 16 weather stations in the country registered record temperatures including in Alcacer do Sal near Setubal, where the heat climbed to 45.9 C.
Authorities in Lisbon have closed playgrounds and called on people to avoid picnics and outdoor activities.
Refuges for homeless people have also opened earlier in the day to allow them to take shelter from the crushing heat.
– Spain: three dead –
In southern Spain, the heat continued to pound down with the touristy city of Cordoba expected to reach 45 C.
The heat has already claimed the lives of three people this week.
A middle-aged man in Barcelona, whom media said appeared to be homeless, was found collapsed on a street Friday and taken to hospital where he later died of heatstroke, Catalonia’s civil protection agency said in a statement.
Two other men — a roadworker in his 40s and a 78-year-old pensioner tending to his vegetable garden — also died from heatstroke this week.
– Austria: dogs fitted with shoes –
Portugal’s weather service said the capital reached 44 degrees Celsius (111.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday, surpassing the city’s previous record of 43 C (109.4 F) set in 1981.
* Firefighters battle blaze in southern Portugal
* Iberian Peninsula sees near record temperatures
* Villages evacuated in Algarve region
By Andrei Khalip
LISBON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – More than 740 firefighters battled a forest fire in southern Portugal on Saturday as temperatures climbed to near record highs in the Iberian Peninsula amid a Europe-wide heatwave that has brought drought and wildfires from Greece to Sweden.
Seeking to prevent more deaths after 114 people were killed in two massive forest blazes last year in Portugal, civil protection sent mobile text alerts warning the population of an extreme risk of fires in some regions, including around the capital Lisbon. In Greece, a wildfire killed 91 people last month.
In the coastal resort area of Cascais, outside Lisbon, a power network overload due to heavy use of air conditioning caused a blackout on Friday night, leaving tens of thousands of people without power for several hours and shutting a large shopping mall. In Lisbon, temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Friday.
The blaze began on Saturday in the hilly Monchique area of the southern Algarve region, popular with tourists. Authorities evacuated two villages in the area and 10 water-carrying aircraft were being used to fight the flames.
Hot air from North Africa has caused the most severe heatwave in Iberia since 2003, one of the worst years on record for forest fires.