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It will be a hot August in the countryside, but the excesses of July should not be repeated


Cristina Simões, meteorologist at the IPMA

Experts predict that in Portugal in August: temperatures above normal in the interior and slightly below average on the coast. The occurrence of a heat wave as extreme as the one in July seems, at least for now, unlikely.

At the moment, the long-term forecasts of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) say it is unlikely that, in August, we will have the extreme heat that we had in July. Even so, the month could be, in some regions of mainland Portugal, a month of above-average temperatures. Possibly, we will see a two-faced country. On the coast, thermometers should register slightly lower values ​​than normal for the time of year. Inside, the heat should be more intense than it already tends to be.

Focusing on the first seven days of August, Cristina Simões, meteorologist at the IPMA, says that, after the increased heat felt this weekend, there should be a slight general drop in temperatures. But the highs are expected to remain quite high inland. “The first week of August should be identical to the last week of July, with the coast being cooler and the interior with higher temperatures. As a general rule, nothing too unusual for the time of year we are in,” she points out.

The meteorologist says that, in Lisbon, the maximum should be close to 30 degrees in this first week of August. In Porto, only some regions are expected to reach 38 ºC. “The heat should be higher in inland areas where temperatures above 35 or even 40 degrees are more common”, she reveals, listing districts such as Beja, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Évora and Guarda.

It may be that, in some of these territories, temperatures approach 40 ºC and a heat wave situation will be recorded , which occurs when the maximum remains five degrees above average for at least six consecutive days. “But, if they occur, they should be less prolonged waves [compared to the July heatwave]”, says Cristina Simões.

The IPMA meteorologist stresses that, according to forecasts, it is “unlikely that in August we will see temperatures as severe as those we saw in July”. “​Last month we saw some regions with almost 50 degrees in temperature. In August, or at least in these first days of August, we may have values ​​close to 40 degrees, which, at this time of year, is usual for certain areas of Beja and Évora, for example”, he reinforces.

July was a tough month (to say the least). The several days in a row of high temperatures, both in Portugal and in the rest of Europe, led to several records being broken. In the UK, thermometers crossed the 40 degree barrier for the first time. Here, the parish of Pinhão (Vila Real) reached 47 ºC for the first time, which was a record in the month of July for the region — and came close to the highest temperature ever recorded in Portugal: 47.3 degrees in the parish. Alentejo in Amareleja, in 2003.

The heat worsened the drought that was already ravaging the country. It also accentuated the risk of fire a risk that would materialize .

Ricardo Deus, IPMA’s climatologist, tells PÚBLICO that almost 60 Portuguese weather stations recorded temperatures above 40 degrees at least once in July. Altogether, temperature records were broken in almost 100 stations, including 40 absolute records and 60 records specifically for the month of July.