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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 25 May 2022

Heatwave: Temperature records shattered in Europe as Paris hits 42.6 degrees

Meanwhile, Germany again hit a national record of 41.5 degrees in Lingen, western Germany.

FRANCE-PARIS-HEAT WAVE People cool themselves at a fountain near the Trocadero Place in Paris, France Source: Gao Jing via PA Images

PARIS REACHED AN all-time high temperature of 42.6 degrees today as a ferocious heatwave smashed records across northern Europe.

As records also tumbled in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, Paris beat the previous top of 40.4 degrees set in July 1947.

Trains have been slowed in several European countries to avoid damage to the railway networks. French national operator SNCF urged travellers to delay journeys planned today, while German railway company Deutsche Bahn offered travellers a chance to change tickets free of charge.

In the sweltering French capital, authorities warned people to keep an eye on those living alone.

At the same time, the scorching weather spelled misery for millions of commuters on public transport. 

The heatwave, which was expected to ease up tomorrow as rain and thunderstorms move in, again focused public attention on the problems caused by climate change.

Belgium Europe Heatwave Two men perform a headstand on the beach in De Haan, Belgium Source: Francisco Seco via PA Images

Across Europe

In Britain, temperatures reached 38.1 degrees in Cambridge. However, it was still below the UK’s all-time high of 38.5 degrees.

In the Netherlands, a new high today of 40.4 degrees in the south broke a record dating back to 1944.

In Amsterdam, crowds jumped into a central square fountain, while municipal workers sprayed water on bridges over the city’s famed canals to stop metal structures deforming in the heat.

Today, Germany again hit a national record of 41.5 degrees in Lingen, western Germany.

The Grohnde nuclear plant in western Germany will temporarily shut down tomorrow as a way to protect the environment, its operator said. Water used to cool the reactor is poured back into rivers and the shutdown is meant to protect already overheated river ecosystems. 

Italy Europe Heatwave People collect water from the public fountain in front of the Pantheon in Rome Source: Andrew Medichini via PA Images

Belgium today also reached a new record high of 40.6 degrees, on the Kleine-Brogel military base, in northeastern Belgium.

Two suspected drug smugglers had to call police in the Belgian port city of Antwerp after becoming trapped in a shipping container filled with cocaine, prosecutors said.

Train disruptions

Eurostar and Thalys rail services from Brussels to London and Paris also experienced major delays and cancellations after a cable failure the day earlier.

“I ask everyone who can avoid or delay their journeys to do so,” said French Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne, advising workers who could do their jobs at home not to go to their offices.

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The northern third of France, including Paris, was under a red alert while the rest of the country had a yellow warning and water-use restrictions were in force.

In Austria, a three-year-old child died of dehydration after falling asleep in a car parked in full sunshine at the family farm, local authorities said.

Spain Europe Heatwave A boy jumps into the water at the beach in Barcelona, Spain Source: Emilio Morenatti via PA Images

‘Look after others’

France remains haunted by the early summer of 2003 when 15,000 deaths were blamed on the heat and the authorities were hit for not mobilising fast enough.

“We need to take care of ourselves but above all others, especially those who are alone, and be able to detect the first symptoms of heatstroke,” said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

Local authorities have placed restrictions on water usage in many areas due to drought-like conditions that have seen ground and river water levels fall dramatically.

A 26-28 June blast of heat in France was four degrees Celsius hotter than an equally rare June heatwave would have been in 1900, the World Weather Attribution (WWA) said this month.  

One study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology said the deadly weeks-long heatwave across northern Europe in 2018 would have been statistically impossible without climate change.

© AFP 2019  

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