Portugal is bracing itself for a heatwave with temperatures likely to touch up to 43 ° C (54.42 ° F) this weekend in certain areas at the very time when the country is being ravaged by a severe drought.

Portugal’s Civil Safety Company, which coordinates the official reaction to emergencies, said on Thursday that its crews had gone on an overstated alert due to the danger of wildfires. About a third of the country is at risk from wildfires, according to officials.

The excessive temperatures are predicted to end at least once a week. The National Weather Service (IPMA) describes it as a “tropical night,” in which, after midnight, temperatures reach more than 68ºF (20 ºC).

The latest spell came at a time when many in Portugal are suffering from a drought. The government declared that starting on Friday, the nation will be formally on high alert for wildfires. By taking this action, the government is given specific rights to do things like forbid fireworks and crop burning at summer festivals and requisition tools like bulldozers for clearing fire breaks.

By the end of June, 96% of the country had experienced extreme or severe droughts, the top two categories. Portugal frequently experiences heat waves and droughts, but according to climatologists, southern Europe as a whole may anticipate rising temperatures and less precipitation due to global warming.

The European Union’s executive stated Thursday that due to escalating climate change, the region would have one of its worst years in terms of natural disasters like droughts and wildfires as abnormally dry weather affects Mediterranean countries.

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Rainfall in the nine months since last October is only slightly more than half the average for that time, and its lowest since 1931 when dependable national records began, the weather service says.

Spain, Portugal’s neighbor on the Iberian Peninsula, also had an extremely dry June with rainfall levels that were almost half of the 30-year normal and reservoir capacities that were, on average, 45 percent, 20 percentage points below the 10-year average.

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