Indigo clouds against a burnt yellow sunset

As if trumpeting the summer, a scorching near-40-degree south wind from the Sahara swept through the country during the weekend, catching both natives and tourists off-guard. Shades, water fountains and public air conditioned buildings became highly-valued prizes.

The flash thunderstorm came as a surprise to the people in the annual book fair in Parque Eduardo VII. For a few minutes, thick drops of water replaced the baking heat while dark indigo clouds set against a strangely burnt yellow sunset. It was as if the dire palette was the prelude of the soon-to-arrive catastrophic news.

The thunderstorm also hit the center region of the country, igniting a major forest fire in Pedrógão Grande that cut roads, isolated villages and claimed 62 lives. It’s the biggest natural disaster in decades and but one of a total of 156 active fires in Portugal. The government decreed a three-day national mourning while the effects of the tragedy are being quenched and its victims and their families are relieved.

Como que a anunciar o verão, um vento escaldante do Sahara de quase 40 graus varreu o país durante o fim-de-semana, apanhando desprevenidos nativos e turistas. Sombras, repuxos e edifícios públicos com ar condicionado tornaram-se bens preciosos.

A trovoada fulminante surpreendeu os visitantes da Feira do Livro no Parque Eduardo VII. Durante alguns minutos, gordas gotas de chuva substituiram o forno a céu aberto enquanto que nuvens escuras de tom indigo se situaram contra um pôr-do-sol de um amarelo estranhamente queimado. Era como se a paleta lúgubre fosse o prelúdio das notícias catastróficas que estavam para chegar.

A trovoada também atingiu o centro do país, acendendo um fogo florestal em Pedrógão Grande, que cortou estradas, isolou aldeias e ceifou 62 vidas. É o maior desastre natural em décadas e apenas um de 156 incêndios activos em Portugal. O governo declarou um luto de três dias enquanto se mitigam os efeitos da tragédia e se cuidam das vítimas e das suas famílias.

Author: Pedro Loureiro

I was born on the southwestern-most tip of Europe, in Lagos, Portugal. A childhood of legos and sandcastles led me to architecture school, but an adolescence of doodling drove me to sketching and later to illustration. I like to sketch, to travel and to chop vegetables into tiny manageable bits. I also like maps. The older the better!

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