Historic Heatwave in Europe, Temperatures Continue to Rise

A historic heat wave continues hitting Europe, causing drought, fires, and even deaths in several countries.

UK authorities reported that the nation had one of its hottest days, with temperatures reaching a record 38.1C in Santon Downham on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has issued an extreme heat warning for much of England, predicting temperatures of up to 41C this week.

The country’s record temperature was 38.7C, recorded in Cambridge in July 2019. In August 2003, it also logged a high of 38.5C in Faversham, Kent, making Monday the third hottest day ever registered.

According to provisional figures from the Met Office, Hawarden in Flintshire hit 37.1C on Monday, which was also the hottest day in Wales.

Some schools and attractions have closed to avoid risks associated with high temperatures. The sweltering heat has also caused widespread train delays.

Western France is also facing what experts have described as a “heat apocalypse,” with temperatures set to hit record highs in at least 15 southwest regions.

Local firefighters have been struggling to combat wildfires, and at least 24,000 people have been forced to flee to emergency shelters.

Last week, fires destroyed more than 14,000 land hectares in Gironde, a tourist region in southwestern France.

Gironde region president Jean-Luc Gleyze said firefighters’ work had been hampered as fires had continued to grow in La-Teste-de-Buch and Landiras due to hot and windy weather.

The city of Brest in northeast Brittany reached 40C, much higher than the July average. The national weather office estimates that temperatures will reach record highs in many French towns and cities.

Spain, Portugal and Greece have also been affected by the heat wave. Fires in the three countries have forced hundreds to flee.

At least 1,000 people have died due to extreme heat in Spain and Portugal in recent days. In the northwestern Spanish province of Zamora, a fire that has been blazing since the weekend killed a 62-year-old firefighter and a shepherd.

Fires have also been reported in the Spanish provinces of Castilla y León, Castilla, Galicia, Andalucía and Extremadura.

In Portugal, temperatures reached 47C on Thursday, a record for July. According to the national meteorological office IPMA, a third of the mainland remains at extreme fire risk due to severe or extreme drought conditions.