Drought set to continue
Vanda Pires, from the Climate Change Division of the Portuguese weather service, said that in March there was an increase in the area of the country affected by the current drought, was 37.5%, while at the end of February it was 4.8%.
In February there was no extreme drought, but in March there was extreme drought in the Algarve, between Faro and Vila Real de Santo António.
According to IPMA’s dry weather index, in March, 45.1% of the territory was in moderate drought and 16.8% classified as ‘weak drought.’
Vanda Pires said that the month of March was classified as ‘hot’ in relation to air temperature and ‘very dry’ in terms of rainfall.
As of March 28, the average maximum air temperature was 19.24 degrees Celsius, the third highest since 2000.
With regard to precipitation, the IPMA said that March 2019 was the 7th driest since 2000.
Vanda Pires pointed out that April should continue with dry weather.
“Rain is expected, but nothing significant that will help end the drought. For the month of April, the models have values ??below normal especially in the first weeks, which is not at all favourable to the drought situation,” said Pires.
Vanda Pires explained that the month of April could be decisive in reducing drought levels, but only if there was intense and prolonged precipitation.
“April is usually a month that brings precipitation. If this does not happen, the trend will be aggravated, since the months of May and June are months of little rain and, even if there is rainfall, this will not be enough to halt the drought situation,” said Pires.
The IPMA specialist recalled that in 2018 the territory was in drought, with a severe situation in February, but as it rained a lot in March the drought ended.
According to Vanda Pires, for the first week of April, below-normal precipitation values ??are forecast for the North and Center regions.
“Values ??above normal for the Central and Southern regions are anticipated during the week of April 8 to 14. Note that by the second week of April the uncertainty is still quite large,” said Pires.
Regarding temperature, below-normal values ??are predicted for the whole territory in the week of April 8 to 14.