A boy somersaults into the sea at a beach in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. Much of Spain is on alert as the country's weather agency warns that temperatures could surpass 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) due to a hot air mass moving northward from the African continent. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Hot African air brings heatwave, dust to Europe

August 02, 2018 - 6:06 am

MADRID (AP) — Much of the Iberian Peninsula braced Thursday for the year's first heatwave, with the mercury expected to soar before peaking at 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in some areas of southern Portugal this weekend.

Temperatures were being driven higher by a hot air mass moving northward from Africa, authorities said.

Forecasts were for a high Thursday of 44 degrees (111 Fahrenheit) in the Portuguese city of Evora, 130 kilometers east of Lisbon, and the Spanish province of Badajoz across the border.

Portuguese authorities issued a nationwide health warning, including for dust moving up from the Sahara Desert, while warnings were also issued for 40 of Spain's 50 provinces.

The Portuguese town of Beja is expected to record a peak of 47 degrees on Saturday.

Spain's Meteorological Agency says thermometers are expected to begin dropping that day.

In eastern Europe, Poland was also enduring unusually high temperatures as the hot African air pushed temperatures up to 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 Fahrenheit).

The country's power plants went into emergency mode to increase output due to wide use of air conditioning and electric fans. Authorities in Warsaw placed cooling water installations in the streets and advised people to stay indoors if possible.

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