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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 23 September 2020

Drought, wildfire and hosepipe bans - how countries around Europe dealt with the heatwave

With temperatures set to rise again over the weekend, we take a look at how the heatwave has had affect in some northern European countries.

Image: Shutterstock/Todja

DROUGHTS AND WILDFIRES have been widespread across northern Europe as a result of the recent surge in hot weather.

The heatwave has been described as being unusually long and over the past few weeks, there has been some unusual weather that even resulted in wildfires in the Arctic Circle.

In Sweden, where temperatures are the highest for a century, farmers are sending their animals to slaughter because there is no hay left to feed them.

This is an extreme case, but echoes concerns across Europe at weeks of soaring temperatures and little rain.


At home here in Ireland we saw the introduction of the hosepipe ban, nighttime water restrictionswildfires and farmers experiencing drought on their farms.

There was a surge in call outs to mountain rescue crews due to the warm weather also.

A wildfire on Saddleworth moor (believed to be started by arson) in northwest England raged for three weeks before it was put out yesterday.

Last weekend saw an area the size of 100 football pitches burn near Epping forest, east of London.

“I never thought I’d say this, but we are praying for rain,” the capital’s fire chief Dany Cotton told reporters.

With just 47 millimetres of rain recorded in Britain between June 1 and July 16, fire chiefs have warned that parks and other grasslands are like a “tinderbox”.

A ban on hosepipes and sprinklers is being introduced in northwest England in August.


Meanwhile doctors across Europe warned of an increase in hospital attendances and admissions due to dehydration and sunburn, particularly among elderly patients.

BBC Northern Ireland recently reported that 220 people have been treated for sunburn in Northern Irish hospitals during the heatwave.

shutterstock_726392098 Sunburn stock image Source: Shutterstock/Trybex


There have also been cases in Ireland and across Europe of drought-stricken farmers and a spike in hospital treatment for sunburn.

Farmers across Europe have warned that crop yields will be down and the lack of moisture in the grass is affecting the quality of milk supplies.

Germany has been experiencing drought since May and agricultural producers warned the harvest this year will be down by between 20-50%.

Poland has asked the EU for financial aid after more than 91,000 farms were affected by an unusual spring drought, according to the agriculture ministry.

Latvia declared a national state of disaster in its farms sector in June and also requested early payment of agricultural subsidies from Brussels.

The high temperatures also brought downpours, including flash flooding in the Tatra mountain area spanning the Polish-Slovak border.

Around 300 people were evacuated on Thursday night from a village on the Slovak side, rescue officials said.

What will the weather be like here this weekend? 

On Saturday top temperatures will be 23° and it will be largely dry and bright, while on Sunday temperatures look to average out at 18-20°.

The weather this weekend will be humid much of the time but there will be scattered patches of drizzle and fog about on Sunday.

The weather looks to follow this pattern into next week.

With reporting by Cathy Lee. 

© AFP 2018 

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