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Scorching temperatures prompt Spain, Portugal to issue health alerts, forest fire warnings

A woman paddles on top of a surfboard as her dog swims next to her in the Mediterranean Sea in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, June 29, 2015. Weather stations across Spain are warning people to take extra precautions as a heat wave engulfs much of the country, increasing the risk of wildfires. The country's meteorological agency says a mass of hot air originating in Africa is moving northwards, bringing with it until at least Monday temperatures reaching 40 C. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
June 29, 2015 - 9:50 AM

LISBON, Portugal - Spain and Portugal both issued weather alerts Monday, advising residents to take extra care as temperatures soared above 40 C (104 F) in some southern areas.

The Iberian Peninsula was sweltering in a heat wave brought on by a mass of hot air flowing north from Africa to Europe in recent days, though recorded temperatures fell shy of the day's forecast of a maximum 44 C (111.2 F).

With the temperature in Cordoba hitting 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 Fahrenheit), Spanish authorities placed the southern city on alert due to "extreme risks" from the heat. People across the southern half of Spain flocked to beaches, swimming pools and fountains.

In Portugal, a high of 37 C (98.6 F) was recorded in the eastern city of Beja, while the capital, Lisbon, sweltered in 35 C (95 F) heat. Portugal's General Directorate for Health recommended staying out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Iberia is forecast to start cooling down on Tuesday when the heat wave is due to move into northern Europe, including the United Kingdom.

Portuguese authorities also warned of a high risk of forest fires in wooded areas of central and northern Portugal.

Official statistics show that after an uncommonly dry winter and spring, almost 54 per cent of the Portuguese mainland was enduring extreme or severe drought at the end of May. With little rainfall in June, that percentage is expected to rise.

News from © The Associated Press, 2015
The Associated Press

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