LISBON – Lisbon broke a 37-year-old record over the weekend to notch its hottest temperature ever as an unrelenting heat wave baked Portugal and neighboring Spain. New heat records were set in 26 places around Portugal.
Portugal’s weather service said the capital reached 44 C on Saturday afternoon, surpassing the city’s previous record of 43 C set in 1981.
The day’s hottest temperature of 46.8 C was recorded at Alvega in the center of Portugal. The country’s highest temperature on record is 47.4 C from 2003.
The weather service said new maximum highs were recorded at 26 places from measurements taken at a total of 96 weather stations around the country. More than 60 percent of the country registered temperatures of over 40 C.
The hot, dusty conditions across the Iberian Peninsula are the result of a mass of hot air from Africa and have increased the risk of forest fires.
Over 700 firefighters were still 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 Portuguese state television RTP.
Sunday’s forecasts called for temperatures to dip slightly while remaining extremely high.
Portugal issued warnings of extreme heat for most of the country and forecast maximum temperatures of 44 C for some areas in the south.
Spain lowered its warnings for heat from “red” to “orange” for large parts of the south, but highs there were still predicted to reach 40-42 C.