The hottest summer days since weather records began are expected in some parts of Europe these days. A large part of the area of the European Union is said to be directly threatened by a prolonged drought, according to a report by the EU Commission’s joint research center.
At the end of June, 46 percent of the entire EU area was at drought warning level two, and 11 percent was even at the highest warning level three.
An end to the drought is not yet in sight. According to the report, the severe drought in Europe is set to continue to spread and progressively worsen. The reason for this is lack of precipitation in combination with persistent heat waves.
For Germany, the German Weather Service (DWD) forecast a cloudless sky with temperatures between 34 and 38 degrees on Tuesday. In the southwest and west it could even be 40 degrees in some cases.
According to the DWD, the hottest temperatures of the year so far were measured on June 19: 39.2 degrees were reported from Cottbus and Dresden. The DWD press spokesman Andreas Friedrich assumes “that this record will be broken on Tuesday”.
Due to the persistent drought, a devastating forest fire broke out in the Saxon Switzerland National Park on Monday night. More than 100 firefighters were on duty to get the flames and glowing nests under the bastion under control, as the district office of the responsible district announced.
The work was very difficult because there was a fire directly on a steep slope with a height difference of 190 meters. For the most part, the emergency services had to secure themselves with ropes. The fire had spread over an area of about 2500 square meters.
British meteorologists are also expecting temperatures of up to 41 degrees in the coming days. The chief of the British weather service “Met Office” warned the British population not to underestimate the heat. “These temperatures are unprecedented in the UK and we are not used to dealing with them,” she said.
British Secretary of State Kit Malthouse also urged caution. “We have a difficult 48 hours ahead of us,” he told the BBC news channel. In view of the heat, the government in London had declared a national emergency. According to the British Weather Office, this warning level is only announced if illnesses and deaths also occur in healthy people and not only in risk groups.
Temperatures between 40 and 42 degrees are expected in France, according to the national weather service “MeteoFrance”.
The high temperatures and strong winds are further heating up the forest fires on the southern French Atlantic coast in the south of the country. Already on Monday thousands of people had to leave their homes as a precaution. According to the prefecture for the Gironde in France, around 8,000 people were affected at Teste-de-Buch. At Landiras, 3,500 people were initially taken to safety.
The two fires south of Bordeaux continued to spread on Monday and have now burned around 14,800 hectares of land. This corresponds to slightly more than the total area of the city of Bonn.
In Spain, a maximum temperature of 45.7 degrees has already been reached as a result of the ongoing heat wave. As the weather service “Aemet” reports, the heat wave should come to an end on Tuesday.
A drought that has lasted for months and strong winds favored the outbreak and spread of some forest fires. On Monday, 22 fires were still active, according to civil defense.
The burned body of a shepherd was found in Losacio, Castile and León, after a firefighter died over the weekend. “Climate change kills,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
The heat is also continuing in Portugal. Temperatures of around 42 are expected next weekend.
As the Portuguese Ministry of Health announced, 659 people have already died in the past seven days as a result of the ongoing heat wave – most of them were older people.
Five major forest fires were still active in Portugal on Monday. According to the nature conservation authority “ICNF”, the flames destroyed around 30,000 hectares of forest in just over a week.
While people in western and central Europe are groaning under a heat wave, the Greek weather agency predicted temperatures of around 29 degrees in Athens on Tuesday. This “dream weather”, as one meteorologist called it on state radio, is the result of strong winds blowing in and around the Aegean Sea. It should last until next Friday.
In Greece, the fire brigade registered 108 fires within 24 hours from Sunday to Monday. Firefighters also fought the flames and embers of a forest fire on the holiday island of Crete on Monday.
The risk of forest fires is rated as “very high” locally, including on the islands of Crete, Euboea, Samos and Lesvos, and also in the northeast of the Peloponnese peninsula and around the capital Athens.
On the popular Croatian peninsula of Istria, restrictions on water consumption came into force on Monday, which are also likely to affect holidaymakers. Potable tap water may no longer be used for washing vehicles, cleaning streets, watering green spaces or showering on beaches and in swimming pools, Croatian media reported.