This Sunday, while the Portugese Algarve region simply experienced a cloudy afternoon, areas around Viseu and Fundão, Castelo Branco, Belmonte, Covilhã and Penamacor had to cope with a a freak hail storm. Motorways were brought to a halt, there was localised flooding, but worst of all was the damage to this year’s fruit crops, including vines.
This was actually the third time in four early summers that the north has been hit by devastating, short-lived storms.
“We’re talking about a situation of extreme gravity”, said Fundão’s Câmara president Paulo Fernandes. “This is something terrible and a very tough moment”. Fernandes stressed that beyond the devastated crops, various infrastructure has been affected and will need replacing.
Agriculture in his borough brings in around €100 million per year, he said. If “every and all lines of support” are not forthcoming, he predicts the area’s future will be “at risk for many years to come”.