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Portuguese drought intensifies

Thursday, 9 November, 2017 - 18:01

Portugal recorded its hottest October on record last month as a prolonged drought intensified and wildfires in the northern and central regions killed dozens. Rainfall in October was 50 percent below average, with some areas receiving only 20 percent of what they normally would in the month, according to Miguel Miranda, the president of the Portuguese met office. Average temperatures were three degrees above normal while average maximum temperatures hit five degrees above the October median, as the country was hit by two heatwaves – one at the beginning and one towards the end of the month. Recent rainfall in the areas affected by last month’s wildfires have brought some respite but officials warn that it won’t be nearly enough to replenish parched rivers and reservoirs that are at 40 percent their normal capacity. .

The Portuguese government is drawing up plans to compensate farmers for the losses in agricultural output due to the lack of water to irrigate their crops. Farmers are calling for more support from the government to help provide drinking water for their livestock. The use of water to wash cars and fill swimming pools and decorative fountains has been banned as the government warns that weather models predict a further intensification of the drought over the coming months. Portugal has been in a state of drought since April and has been hit by two deadly spates of wildfires, twenty-seven people were killed in fires last month and in June a further 64 perished in what was the largest loss of life due to wildfires in the country’s history.


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