Portugal Breaks Temperature Records

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Eight places in the center, south and east of Portugal have broken their local temperature records amid a heatwave, the country's weather agency says.

The highest temperature recorded Thursday was 45.2 degrees Celsius (113.4 Fahrenheit) near Abrantes, a town 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of the capital, Lisbon, the IPMA said.

Temperatures in Portugal were forecast to keep building nationwide on Friday, to around 45 degrees, and to peak at 47 degrees in some places on Saturday.

Portugal's highest temperature ever recorded was 47.4 degrees (117.3 Fahrenheit) in 2003. Emergency services have issued a red alert, placing extra services such as medical staff and firefighters on standby through Sunday.

Temperatures were being driven higher across the Iberian peninsula by a hot air mass moving northward from Africa, which is also bringing dust from the Sahara Desert, meteorologists said.

In Spain, heat warnings were also issued for 41 of the country's 50 provinces as temperatures were expected to reach up to 44 degrees Celsius.

Summer temperatures close to 40 degrees Celsius are not unusual in southern parts of the Iberian peninsula.

Spain's highest recorded temperature is 46.9 degrees Celsius in Cordoba, a southern city, last July.

The World Meteorological Organization says continental Europe's record is 48 degrees Celsius in Greece in 1977.

(KA)