IPMA classifies February as “extremely dry”

February Climate Bulletin was released today

Photo: Flávio Costa|Sul Informação (File)

The month of February was “extremely dry” and registered a “significant decrease” in the percentage of water in the soil, especially on the central and Baixo Alentejo coastline, said the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA).

“The month of February 2023 in mainland Portugal was classified as normal in terms of air temperature and extremely dry in terms of precipitation”, states the IPMA climate bulletin.

The bulletin referring to the second month of the year emphasizes that, last month, the total monthly rainfall, 10,7 liters per square meter, “was much lower than the average value”, corresponding to only 11% of the normal value recorded between 1971 and 2000.

The IPMA refers that, considering the last 35 years, only in nine years the monthly precipitation values ​​in February were higher than the average value.

The same document also adds that last month there was "a significant decrease in the percentage of water in the soil", with practically the entire territory having values ​​below 60%, and some places on the central coast and Baixo Alentejo have percentage values ​​of Soil water less than 20%.

At the end of February, the IPMA also reveals, there was an increase in areas in mild drought and moderate drought in the South region, with emphasis on the districts of Setúbal and Beja, with many places in moderate drought, while in the North and Center there was a decrease in the areas in the rainfall classes.

“On February 28, 15% of the territory was in mild drought and 13% in moderate drought”, reads the bulletin, which gives an account of the average air temperature, which was 9,94 degrees centigrade, and very close to the normal value recorded between 1971 and 2000.

According to the IPMA, the maximum air temperature was higher than the normal value, being the twelfth highest since 1931, and the minimum air temperature was lower than the normal value, registering the sixth lowest since 2000.

“During the month of February, maximum air temperature values ​​were almost always above the monthly average, as well as minimum air temperature values ​​almost always lower than normal, with emphasis on the periods from the 2nd to the 7th and from the 23rd to 28 with values ​​much lower than the monthly average”, indicates the same document.

Although February was classified as normal in terms of temperature, the IPMA points out that mainland Portugal was, last month, “often under the influence of a polar air mass”, in addition to having also been affected by depressions and the passage of a cold frontal surface, which originated precipitation, being hail locally and, episodically, in the form of snow at heights greater than 400 meters in the North region and 600 meters in the Center region.