'Worst is still to come': Sizzling Europe battles wildfires, health risks

28 Juin, 2019, 00:33 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Europe basks in heatwave

"The difference with 2003 is the very high humidity this year, which means it will feel much hotter than the temperature shown by the thermometer and so the discomfort felt will be greater than in 2003", France's Health Minister Agnès Buzyn told reporters.

"Europe is now under historically strong upper ridge", Mika Rantanen, a meteorologist in Finland, tweeted on Wednesday.

German authorities have urged people to take necessary measures to avoid heat stroke, as temperatures above 37C could cause exhaustion or even cardiac failure. Numerous victims were elderly people in apartments and retirement homes without air conditioning. "The 2003 European heat wave has caused about 70,000 fatalities. Last year's hot summer in Germany has been estimated to have caused at least 1 000 excess deaths".

A forecast map published on website Météociel that predicted temperatures across France on June 27 seems to resemble the image of a screaming skull.

In a viral tweet, Silvia Laplana, a meteorologist in Spain, wrote "El infierno", which translates to hell, "is coming". Temperatures are forecast to approach 105 degrees (40.6 Celsius) in Madrid on Friday, which would be its highest temperature ever recorded.

Radzyn, Poland, also recorded a new national high of 100.7 Fahrenheit, while Doksany in the Czech Republic experienced high temperatures of 101.3 Fahrenheit.

People cool off on the Miroir d'Eau (Mirror of Water), a public art piece on the quay of the Garonne river as France prepares to swelter in record high June temperatures, in Bordeaux, France June 26, 2019.

Meteorologists say this June heatwave might break previous national all-time records in France before Friday. In Berlin, it was 21 C, down from around 37 C on Wednesday.

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Even Copenhagen on the main island of Denmark is set to head into the 80s.

While records will continue to fall in the days ahead, a number of historic marks have already been set as the heat wave cranks up. One is near Greenland and the other is over north-central Europe. However, the full toll directly linked to the heatwave would only be known in the days or weeks ahead. An upper ridge is the technical term for this extensive zone of high pressure or heat dome.

"On Saturday however, the warmth will spread across eastern parts of the United Kingdom with temperatures peaking around 33 to 34 Celsius".

Germany is seeing a top five warmest June, with cities like Potsdam in the northeast part of the country on its way to its warmest June on record.

"So far this summer it's often been cool and it's often been raining", notes the BBC.

In Paris, authorities banned older cars from the city for the day as a heat wave aggravates the city's pollution.

"But when summer temperatures are routinely in the 70s, like in northern Europe or the West Coast of the USA, many places do not have air conditioning". As a result, drought and wildfires were rampant. "We are seeing the beginning of a clear impact of the heat wave".

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