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Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 25 November 2020

Europe braces for 'extreme' heatwave with temperatures set to reach over 40 degrees

The extreme heatwave is not expected to reach Ireland.

People cool off in ponds in Paris as France prepares for extreme temperatures.
People cool off in ponds in Paris as France prepares for extreme temperatures.
Image: Le Tellec Stephane/ABACA/PA

EUROPE IS PREPARING for a heatwave later this week, with experts warning people to ensure they stay safe amid concerns over extreme temperatures. 

Meteorologists blamed a blast of hot air from the Sahara for the unusually early summer heatwave, which could send thermometers up to 40 degrees across large swathes of the continent.

The temperatures will be most intense from Thursday, forecasters say, and high humidity is likely to make conditions even more difficult, especially at night.

Authorities have issued warnings against dehydration and heatstroke, in particular for children and the elderly, and hospitals have been placed on high alert.

In France, people are preparing for the hottest June since 1947. “I’m worried about people who are downplaying this, who are continuing to exercise as usual or stay out in the sun,” French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.

“This affects all of us, nobody is a superman when it comes to dealing with the extreme heat we’re going to see on Thursday and Friday,” she told a press conference.

Emmanuel Demael, a forecaster at the Meteo-France weather agency, expects records will be set for the month “and in some places records for all months combined”.

In Paris, officials pledged to open “cool rooms” inside public buildings, set up temporary water fountains, and leave the city’s parks unlocked at night.

City workers also plan to distribute water to the homeless and install fans in schools and nurseries.

French retailer Boulanger said sales of “air treatment” equipment had jumped 400 percent from normal levels in recent days.

Irish weather has been unsettled in recent days, with Met Éireann today issuing a Status Yellow warning for the whole country.

There is little sign yet that the extreme weather experienced by mainland Europe will be felt in Ireland – though temperatures are set to reach between 20 and 27 degrees on Thursday and Friday. 

Record weather

Spain’s AEMET weather agency warned of an “extreme risk” of forest fires in areas including Aragon, Navarre and Extremadura, with temperatures that could exceed 42 degrees in the Ebro valley in the northeast.

In Germany, forecasters said the June record of 38.2 degrees for Frankfurt in 1947 was likely to come under threat, with little prospect of storms to cool things down.

“It could get up to 39 degrees, some places could even crack the 40 degree mark,” said Sabine Krueger of the German weather service, with the southwest due to be the hottest.

Parts of southern Denmark and Sweden are likely to reach 30 degrees starting tomorrow.

In the UK, the country is currently experiencing high temperatures and thunderstorms, with significant humidity expected to last later into the week. 

Meteorologists have said such heatwaves are likely to be more frequent, even if countries succeed in their commitments to limit global temperature increases as part of the 2015 Paris climate accord. 

The deal aims to contain increases to 1.5 degrees, committing nations to reduce emissions to this end.

The European Union pledged to cut carbon emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.


 © – AFP 2019

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