Western Europe has been unable to escape the clutches of unrelenting heat over the past few weeks, with temperatures again reaching into the mid-40Cs across parts of Portugal and Spain. It is Spain’s second heatwave in less than a month.
Temperatures reached 46.3C in Lousã, Portugal, and 45.6C in Almonte, Spain, on Wednesday. Accompanying the heat is drought, and dry and windy conditions have helped wildfires to spread.
More than 3,500 firefighters have been tackling blazes across Portugal – covering about 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) to date – with 17 aircraft helping to drop water on the fires. A looming problem is that Portugal has just had one of its driest winters, and dam water levels are at their lowest. Air support near the coast can use seawater to help control blazes, but in central areas there is limited water supply.
The fires are stretching out from Portugal through central parts of Spain and now south-west France. Wildfires in the Bordeaux region have destroyed 1,800 hectares (4,400 acres) of forest. The smoke plumes are easily visible on satellite imagery.
In Pakistan, more than 1,200 homes have been swept away in monsoon rains since 14 June, and at least 165 people have died. Mangla, in northern Punjab province, recorded a 24-hour rainfall total of 169.2mm on 14 July.
In Padidan, in Sindh province in the south, cumulative rainfall totals for the first two weeks of July were six times higher than the monthly mean, at 235.4mm. And in south-west Pakistan, a monthly total of 127mm was recorded in Panjgur, Balochistan, more than 20 times the monthly norm of 6.2mm.
July 16, 2022 at 12:24PM Jodie Woodcock for MetDesk