According to the climate bulletin of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA), April was the fourth warmest month in 92 years, with the highest maximum air temperature since 1931 having been recorded in that month. According to the IPMA, the average air temperature reached 23.77 degrees Celsius, 5.59 degrees Celsius above the normal value.

The IPMA bulletin also shows that April was also the third driest since 1931, when a total rainfall of 18.2 millimetres was recorded, which corresponds to 23% of the normal value.

This phenomenon contributed to a “very significant” decrease in the percentage of water in the soil throughout the territory. The regions of Nordeste Transmontano, Tagus Valley, Baixo Alentejo and Algarve accumulated values of percentage of water in the soil lower than 10%.

Heat waves

The month of April was also characterised by three heat waves that affected several regions at different times, namely in the interior North and Centre, Tagus valley and Alentejo and the eastern Algarve.

“It should be noted that heat waves are very frequent in the spring months”, points out the IPMA recalling the “long-lasting” heat wave that occurred in April 2017.

The European Commission is closely monitoring the drought situation in southern Europe, including Portugal, and which it considers "particularly serious", particularly for farmers, a European source told Lusa today.

"The severe drought in southern Europe is particularly worrying, not only for farmers, but also because it could contribute to rising consumer prices, already very high, if European Union production is significantly lower", according to the European source.