Weather apps and a peek out of the window on Sunday morning gave no indication of the stormy weather that was to arrive later that afternoon, rudely interrupting an otherwise beautiful spring weekend.

An historic castle in Évora was left in need of a technical safety inspection after being hit by lightening; a number of road accidents were caused by hail on the main A2 motorway between the Algarve and Lisbon, and images of hailstones pelting down on roads in the Algarve went viral on social media.

Weather forecasters were left agape when hailstones started to fall from skies that had been clear blue and sunny, while temperatures in some parts of southern Portugal had exceeded 25 degrees Celsius.

In Évora, the Alentejo’s biggest city, a lightening strike damaged one of the towers of the ancient Mourão Castle.

Évora Mayor Maria Clara Safara told Lusa News Agency that the tower was “badly damaged” and possibly “at risk of collapsing”.
“Lightning, during a thunderstorm [on Sunday] afternoon, struck the castle tower. The structure is badly damaged, visitors are barred from accessing it because it may be at risk of collapsing”, she said.

Maria Clara Safara also said that at the time of the incident there were people inside the castle, but that “there were no imjuries”.
“We will have a technical evaluation [on Monday] with the Regional Directorate of Culture of the Alentejo because it may be in danger of collapsing. Access to the castle is prohibited”, she reiterated.

The mayor of Mourão also reported that some houses adjacent to the castle were without electricity, a situation that national electricity company EDP swiftly resolved.

GNR police in Beja, also in the Alentejo, Further south, certain areas of the Algarve were also pummelled by the bout of unforeseen freak stormy weather.

Reports of heavy rain, thunder and hailstones emerged from places including Monchique, Aljezur and Messines and along the A22 motorway at around 4pm in the afternoon.

However, the unpredicted storm went unnoticed in many other parts of the Algarve, where warm, spring-like weather prevailed.