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europe heatwave

France has just recorded its hottest EVER temperature at 44.3 degrees

Mainland Europe is in the grips of an unprecedented heatwave.

LAST UPDATE | 28 Jun 2019

France Europe Weather Children cooling off at the Trocadero public fountain in Paris on Wednesday Francisco Seco Francisco Seco

FRANCE HAS RECORDED its hottest ever temperature at 44.3 degrees.

The scalding heat record was measured in Carpentras, northeast of Avignon in the country’s southeast. 

Across Europe, governments have warned citizens to take extra precautions, with the week-long heatwave causing a build-up of pollution.

France’s previous record was set in August 2003 in the southern region of Montpellier and Nimes, when the thermometer hit 44.1 degrees.

“To beat this record so early in the year would be exceptional,” one meteorologist said.

The average maximum temperature recorded on Wednesday in France of 34.9 degrees was already a record for the month of June, said state weather forecaster Meteo France.

French President Emmanuel Macron warned that such extreme weather is likely to become more frequent as a result of global warming. 

“We will need to change our set-up, our way of working, build differently,” he said, stressing a necessary “adaption of society and its habits”.

Spanish wildfire

Meanwhile, a forest fire in Torre del Espanol in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region has raged out of control, devouring land despite the efforts of hundreds of firefighters.

Catalonia’s forest agent service said the fire likely began when an “improperly managed” pile of manure at a chicken farm self-combusted in the extreme heat.

Some 350 firefighters backed by around 230 soldiers and 15 aerial tanker aircraft were at the scene of the blaze yesterday.

“The situation is critical,” a fire service chief said.

“We haven’t seen a fire like this (in the region) in 20 years.”

Spain Wildfire Firefighters trying to extinguish a wildfire in Palma d'Ebre, near Tarragona, Spain Jordi Borras Jordi Borras

With temperatures expected to reach up to 42 degrees today, Spain has issued a “red level” warning to its population.

In the Italian city of Milan, a 72-year-old homeless man was found dead at the main train station after falling ill due to the heatwave, the local authorities said.

As Germans attempted to cool off amid scorching temperatures, at least four people died in bathing accidents in different parts of the country on Wednesday.

Italy Europe Weather Volunteers distributing free bottles of water outside Milan's central railway station, northern Italy Luca Bruno Luca Bruno

Some areas of the country were experiencing water shortages and some residents in the North Rhine-Westphalia state were told to only use drinking water for vital purposes or face a €1,000 fine.

There has been no coordinated shutdown of schools but some have closed in parts of France, while others advised parents to keep children at home.

In Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Strasbourg, authorities have banned the most-polluting cars from the roads.

© – AFP 2019 with reporting by Rónán Duffy

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