Record-breaking heat wave scorches Europe

26 Juin, 2019, 23:53 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Youngsters cooled off in pools in Paris as temperatures soared to 33 degrees Celsius

In France, the national weather agency Meteo France predicted the hot weather could produce temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) across the country just as the summer tourist season shifts into high gear.

Schools in parts of France, meanwhile - where an all-time heat record of 44.1C could be beaten on Friday - were expected to remain closed until the end of the week, while authorities in Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg and Marseille banned older cars from entering their city centres to combat pollution.

France's national weather forecaster Météo-France, increased the number of heat-related weather alerts to 78 on Wednesday from earlier 65.

Heat waves are becoming more frequent and more severe because of the climate crisis, scientists say.

France could see temperatures that exceed those of the historic and lethal 2003 European heat wave.

The previous record stood at 38.5 Celsius (101.3 Fahrenheit), which was measured in 1947 in Bühlertal, which lies close to France.

Western Europe is bracing for an intense, dangerous, and possibly even deadly heatwave this week, with temperatures due to soar as high as 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

"When it is 105 (degrees Fahrenheit) in Phoenix or Kuwait, it is not almost as big of a deal as if it is 105 in Chicago or Paris", he said.

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In Germany, the hottest temperature on record on a June day was 38.5 degrees Celsius in Bühlertal in Baden-Württemberg in 1947. In Paris on Wednesday authorities banned older cars from the city for the day as the heat aggravates pollution problems.

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"When summer temperatures are routinely in the 70s, like in northern Europe or the West Coast of the U.S., many places do not have air conditioning". Major cities like Frankfurt and Hamburg are also expecting temperatures in the mid-30s Celsius (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit).

"This is the first time this has happened because it's the first time that it's this hot during the school year", education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said.

Countries including France, Spain, and Portugal are expecting record-breaking temperatures from Wednesday, while the rest of the continent is also set to face temperatures much higher than normal.

In Germany, where prior heat waves have caused asphalt on highways to bulge, drivers should be extra vigilant, the nation's weather service advised. The country's temperature record for June is likely to fall this week, the agency said.

"Children, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions are particularly at risk", she said.

European public health bodies are trying to prevent a repeat of a year ago, when heat waves resulted in deaths in Spain and Portugal and drought conditions in Germany and Sweden.

The Polish weather institute IMGW said the country's highest ever June temperature was recorded on Wednesday in the southwest: 38.2 degrees Celsius.

CNN's Celia Heudebourg, Rebecca Blanchard, Antoine Crouin and Saskya Vandoorne contributed reporting.

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