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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 23 September, 2019
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After record breaking temperatures, some cooler weather hits parts of Europe

But the reprieve was not universal, with Germany measuring a record high temperature for June.

People watch the sunrise this morning on the mountain Brocken in Schiere, Germany,
People watch the sunrise this morning on the mountain Brocken in Schiere, Germany,
Image: Matthias Bein/dpa via AP

A WELCOME TEMPERATURE drop has hit western parts of Europe today bringing relief to areas that have sweltered through a widespread, deadly heatwave for almost a week.

But the reprieve was not universal, with Germany measuring a record high temperature for June and Spanish firefighters battling three major blazes with the help of more than 700 soldiers and water bombing planes.

In Rome, Pope Francis told pilgrims on Saint Peter’s Square:

“I pray for those who have suffered the most from the heat in recent days; the sick, the elderly, those who work outside, on construction sites… let no one be abandoned or exploited.”

Six days of intense heat fuelled huge blazes and spikes in pollution in many countries, and officially claimed four lives in France, two in Italy and another two in Spain.

The victims included a 17-year-old harvest worker, a 33-year-old roofer and a 72-year-old homeless man.

Today, in northern and western France, hot-weather warnings were lifted days after the country posted successive record temperatures as it sizzled alongside Italy, Spain and some central European nations.

The mercury was predicted to drop by as much as 10 degrees Celsius in Paris today but to continue rising in central and eastern Germany and in Italy before rainstorms cool things down by Tuesday.

On Sunday, a record 38.9 Celsius was measured in Bad Kreuznach in Rhineland-Palatinate state, according to data from the national weather service, wiping out the previous high of 38.6 degrees recorded Wednesday in two other towns.

Following on from high temperatures of the last few days, things were a bit cooler across the country today. Some showers and moderate winds kep temperatures a bit lower.

The week ahead is looking mostly dry with a mix of sunshine and cloudy spells, and temperatures ranging from 15 to 22 degrees in some areas.

Runners collapse

In Frankfurt, Germany, the blazing heat took its toll on US athlete Sarah True, who had been leading the Ironman European championships but lost the race as she collapsed a kilometre before the finish line.

The firefighter service in Hamburg reported that “many runners collapsed during a half-marathon which took place under a heat that reached 33 degrees. Twenty-four runners had to be brought to clinics for treatment”.

Police used water cannons to help cool down the crowd at a summer street festival in Soemmerda in Thuringia state.

In central Spain, temperatures close to 42 degrees hammered firefighting crews yesterday, notably near Almorox where at least 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) have burnt while flames crept towards Madrid, forcing the evacuation of a village and 200 people from a campsite, emergency services said.

Another major fire burned near Toledo, while in northeastern Catalonia, an inferno that had begun on Wednesday was being brought under control, regional authorities said.

Four Spanish weather stations have reported June records from 38.8 Celsius to 41.9 Celsius.

In France, fires razed about 600 hectares (1,480 acres) and dozens of houses in the southern Gard department.

- © AFP 2019 with reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald

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