Large parts of Europe have been hit by a heat wave that is unusual for the time of year. According to the German Weather Service (DWD), temperatures of over 35 degrees were sometimes reached in Germany. Record temperatures of 42 degrees threatened in France. Forest fires have already destroyed thousands of hectares of forest in Spain.
In France, the weather service Météo France spoke of the earliest heat wave since 1947. New temperature records for the month of June had already been set in eleven areas. Several festivals, sporting and cultural events have been cancelled.
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“It is a really exceptional situation,” it said. Temperatures of 35 to 39 degrees were expected across the board. In connection with the severe drought that had lasted for a long time, there was a great risk of forest fires, and the fire brigade repeatedly went out to sources of fire in nature. In the southern French department of Tarn, three fires broke out on Saturday alone, as the prefecture announced.
In extreme heat, two pensioners died on the west coast on Pornichet beach on Friday, as reported by the broadcaster France Info. An 80-year-old lay on his towel around 2 p.m. in the blazing sun. When he stopped moving, other beachgoers called for help. The man apparently suffered heat stroke and the lifeguard was unable to revive him.
Two hours later, an 82-year-old collapsed dead in the water. With a water temperature of 16 degrees and an air temperature of 35 degrees, a deadly cold shock was suspected.
In Spain, which is also affected by the unusual heat, wildfires have been devastating thousands of hectares of land for days. Up to 20,000 hectares were affected in the Sierra de la Culebra in the northwest. 14 towns were evacuated as a precaution. In several other regions, emergency services fought other fires. Temperatures of up to 43 degrees were expected in north-eastern Zaragoza.
Spain is experiencing the worst June heat wave since 1950, with temperatures locally exceeding 44 degrees. The record of this hot period was registered last Friday in Andújar, Andalusia, with 44.2 to 44.3 degrees.
According to the Aemet weather service, it should be particularly hot on Saturday with 40 to 42 degrees, especially in the regions of Catalonia, Navarre and Basque Country in the north-east and north of the country and in Andalusia in the south.
In the Netherlands, the weather service issued a warning for the southern city of Limburg, where temperatures could rise to 35 degrees. In the UK, authorities set new seasonal temperature records for the third straight day.
In northern Italy, the Po Valley is suffering its worst drought in 70 years, with some communities rationing water distribution. According to the Coldiretti agricultural association, half of the cultivated land there is threatened.
It’s different in Greece: Here, in many places, people still have to have their umbrellas with them, in the north and west it should also rain at the weekend and sometimes thunderstorms.