European heat wave: UK sees third hottest day on record, wildfires raging in France and Spain

European heat wave: UK sees third hottest day on record, wildfires raging in France and Spain
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Extreme heat has engulfed parts of Western Europe forest fires France and Spain are raging, Portugal has a worsening drought and Monday was the third hottest day on record in the UK.

The fire spread everywhere 27,000 hectares of land in southwestern France’s Gironde department forced the evacuation of 32,000 people, the local prefecture said Monday night.

The nearby town of Cazaux recorded 42.4 degrees Celsius (108.3 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, the hottest since the meteorological station opened in 1921, more than 100 years ago.

Large cities in western France such as Nantes and Brest are also said to have set new heat records.

The fires were first reported on Monday afternoon in Finistere, on the country’s Atlantic coast; less than eight hours later, the fire had destroyed more than 700 hectares and caused the evacuation of several villages.

In Spain, wildfires engulfed the central region of Castile and León on Sunday, as well as the northern region of Galicia. This was reported by Reuters. The fire also forced the state railway company to suspend services between Madrid and Galicia.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Monday that more than 70,000 hectares of land in Spain have been destroyed by fires this year. “Seventy thousand hectares, to give you an idea, is almost twice the average of the last decade,” he said.

In Portugal, a heat wave exacerbated a pre-existing drought and caused forest fires in central parts of the country, including in the village of Memoria in the municipality of Leiria.

On Monday, the country’s Carlos III Health Institute estimated a total of more than 510 heat wave-related deaths in the country, based on statistical estimates of excess deaths.

Hundreds of people have also died in neighboring Portugal, where hot weather has exacerbated a severe drought.

Portugal’s health ministry said on Saturday that 659 mostly elderly people had died in the past seven days, Reuters reported.

An elderly couple also died on Monday when their car overturned while fleeing forest fires in northern Portugal, the country’s state broadcaster RTP reported.

In total, more than 1,100 people are believed to have died due to the ongoing heat wave in southern Europe.

A blistering heat wave is expected peak earlier this week.

Paris, the French capital, is expected to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday as a heat wave moves across the country.

In England – where temperatures in Santon Downham in eastern England reached 38.1 degrees on Monday, the third hottest day on record – authorities warned the situation could worsen.

The head of Great Britain's Met Office said that the country could experience it

According to Met Office director general Penelope Endersby, Tuesday is “expected to be warmer”.

“Tomorrow we really see a higher chance of 40 degrees and above,” Endersby told BBC Radio 4 on Monday.

“Even maybe above, not off the 41 cards. We even have 43 in the model, but we hope it won’t be that high.

In France, the heat wave is expected to move away from the western part of the country and towards the center and eastern part, including Paris, on Tuesday.

The Royal Belgian Meteorological Institute (KMI / IRM) issued a “code red” weather warning on Tuesday, forecasting temperatures of up to 40 Celsius in the west and south-west of the two provinces.

At such very high temperatures, certain measures will be needed: drink regularly, wear lighter clothes, spend the day in cool rooms, regularly monitor your health, eat easily digestible food (and in smaller portions), keep doors and windows closed. closed to retain heat. Pets and animals also need extra care,” he warned residents.

Around half of Europe, including the UK, is ‘at risk’ of drought, EU Commission researchers say he said Monday.

The Joint Research Center stressed that the drought was “critical” across much of Europe as “a lack of winter-spring precipitation … was exacerbated by early heatwaves in May and June.”

According to the report, water supply “may be disrupted” in the coming months.

Speaking to CNN on Monday, Oxford University professor Myles Allen warned that such heat waves will become inevitable if humanity does not reduce carbon emissions soon.

“This is not the new normal because we’re just trending toward warmer temperatures,” Allen told CNN on Monday.

According to him, the solution is a fundamental change in the energy industry. Individual companies are less likely to change their business models unilaterally because of concerns about losing their ability to compete with rivals, he added.

“It should be a regulation for the industry as a whole,” Allen said.

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