Temperature soars to 50C (120 F) in Spain and Portugal as deadly European heatwave intensifies
3 August, 2018
Europe is sweltering in its hottest temperatures, with record figures for parts of Portugal on Friday and the mercury due to soar higher on Saturday.
Official figures showed it hit just under 45C (113F) there, but we recorded 50C in the south with a handheld thermometer.
It comes after a roadworker in his 40s and 78-year-old died from heatstroke in neighbouring Spain this week.
The Spanish plume yesterday hit the UK, with highs of 32.8C.
And forecasters warned of rising temperatures blowing in from Europe this weekend.
Thousands flocked to Portugal’s coast yesterday to escape the blazing temperatures.
Several places in the southern Alentejo region had been forecast to hit 47C, so I headed inland in search of a record-breaking spot.
As we stood with the sun beating down on us, en route to Beja, our thermometer hit 50C in no time – the maximum it could measure.
Stepping out of the car on arrival in Beja, the heat from the cobbles seared through my sandals.
Breathing felt like a chore and my lungs filled with muggy air. It smelled and somehow tasted hot, almost burning my nose and throat
The oppressive heat had driven the people of Beja inside or away.
Armando Tomas, 47, owner of Aladdin homewares shop, said locals did not step outside until sunset at around 8.30pm.
He added: “This year has been unbearable. The whole place has felt like a ghost town during the day.”
On Thursday the hottest temperature on the Iberian Peninsula was 45.7C in Mora, Portugal, just a few miles north of Beja, according to the country’s meteorological organisation IPMA.
On Friday in Beja it was officially 43.1C, just a couple of degrees cooler than the highest temperature for the whole country.
But how did the 50C we recorded in the direct, blazing sun feel? I could finally test whether you can fry an egg on a car.
Cracking the yolk on to the scalding bonnet was like dropping it into a hot pan; before we knew it, it started to cook.
Iberia’s heatwave, due to hot air from North Africa, is its most severe since 2003, with governments putting emergency services on alert for forest fires.
Met Office meteorologist Becky Mitchell said: “It’s hot quite widely across Europe at the moment, but the difference with Spain and Portugal in particular is they’ve just drawn in some very hot air from across the north of Africa, so that is elevating temperatures even more.
“Things are expected to cool down slowly next week, when there will be more of an Atlantic influence.”....