Although Portugal has many months of dry hot weather, the autumn and winter can bring heavy rain. As the ground can be hard, rain water cannot soak into the ground – hence it accumulates giving rise to flooding in some areas. This page helps you protect yourself and property in case of flooding. The contact details on the right are the main agencies in Portugal that are involved in flooding prevention and the issue of warnings.
Although lightning can occur without rainfall, there is important advice on this page on what action to take when there is lightning and first aid treatment for victims of lightning strikes.
The ANEPC (Civil Protection Authority) advises in periods of high winds and heavy rain people may experience:
Due to the possibility of falling branches or trees because of strong winds the ANEPC advises that the risk to individuals and properties can be reduced by taking the following measures, particularly in areas which historically are more vulnerable by:
In addition Safe Communities Portugal recommends the following
Always use the rule of 30 seconds to determine the level of threat of lightning. This rule is simple and consists of counting the seconds between the lightning sight and hearing of their sound (thunder).
If this value is less than 30 seconds seek shelter immediately and follow the steps below: this means that the storm is close enough to reach your location.
During the storm:
Never stand under a tall, isolated tree. Most of the victims of the storms are reached when seeking shelter under a tree. Check that it is not the highest altitude in the surrounding area. Move down to the lowest possible point and away from tall objects and vulnerable. If the lightning reaches any of these objects it can take the shock of the electric discharge through the ground.
Towards the end of the year the Portuguese mainland can be affected by cyclones travelling eastwards across the Atlantic. It is important to keep track of these as they can cause considerable damage.
During an approaching cyclone
Follow all the recommendations of the competent authorities. Do not spread rumours or exaggerated information about the situation.
• If your home is safe and located at altitude, stay indoors. Leave low-altitude areas at risk of flooding;
• Abandon mobile (or prefab) homes and move to more substantial shelter;
• Place crisscross (X-shaped) strips of masking tape on windows to prevent flying shrapnel, and open a window opposite the wind direction to balance pressures;
• Do not open the curtains, they serve as protection against splinters;
• Place boards, or strong blinds, in large windows;
Store some water for consumption, and for sanitary purposes, in bathtubs, jars, bottles or other deposits;
• Set the fridge to the maximum cooling level and open it only when necessary;
• Close all gas tanks;
• Turn off all unnecessary devices and keep the radio connected to batteries in order to receive information and instructions from the competent authorities;
• Collect all objects that could be thrown by the wind from the front of your house and secure those that are too large or heavy in a safe place;
• Always have waterproof clothing at hand;
• Cover with waterproof material all objects that could be damaged in contact with water;
• Make sure your car has enough fuel and that the battery is in good condition.
Stay at home, on the lowest floor and in the interior room, and away from windows;
• Close all interior doors and reinforce exterior ones;
If the wind calms down, do not leave the house, it is probably the passage of the “eye” (center) of the hurricane, strong winds can return at any time;
• Constantly monitor the flood level near your house;
• In case the wind becomes more violent, place yourself under a sturdy piece of furniture or a mattress;
• If you are caught in the street, stay away from trees, poles or walls, and protect your head.
All prevention and protection information is from the ANEPC and official resources