Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Red alerts for Portugal, Spain amid 'extreme heat'

Red alerts for Portugal, Spain amid 'extreme heat'

The big picture: The heat wave will be most intense in Portugal, Spain and parts of France, although the United Kingdom will also see above average temperatures for this time of year.

Anyone heading to mainland Europe over the weekend or early next week is advised to remain out of the sun as much as possible during the peak hours - 11am to 2pm - and not to take part in any physical exertion while the temperatures remain this high.

With nearly no rainfall since May, Sweden experienced its hottest July in more than 250 years, with the drought and high temperatures sparking wildfires across the country, even as far north as the Arctic Circle.

Spain's highest recorded temperature is 46.9 degrees Celsius in Cordoba, a southern city, last July.

The national record for Portugal is 47.4 degrees Celsius, established in 2003.

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Portugal has brought in various measures including a text-alert system to warn those in danger. "They include the head of the civil protection agency, the governor of Attica, the mayor of Marathon and the police and fire service", Antonis Foussas, the plaintiffs' lawyer said.

"Oh it's awful", said tourist Paul Snell.

Meanwhile in Spain, media reports said two people died of heatstroke in the southeastern Murcia region, while a third - believed to be homeless - died in Barcelona. Highest afternoon temperatures will generally range 18 to 25 degrees, but temperatures possibly reaching a degree or two higher in the East and Southeast.

The hot, dry conditions have led to several wildfires in Portugal.

A man cools off in a public fountain at the Retiro park in Madrid, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018.

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"The result of the hot summer will be a very big loss of snow and ice in the mountains", Professor of Geography Gunhild Ninis Rosqvist is quoted by the university as saying.

Finland's August average is 19C but temperatures approached 30C this week and few have air-conditioning at home.

The small Budakeszi game reserve outside the Hungarian capital Budapest said it was helping its animals cope with the heat with iced fruit and a diet with less meat and more nutrients.

The next few days could see the hottest temperatures recorded in continental Europe. In Sweden July was a record month and wildfires burnt in parts of the country.

The Spanish meteorology agency, AEMET, has issued an official warning of extreme temperatures, and authorities are already making emergency preparations for the dramatic heatwave.

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