Destinations

Europe braces for record-breaking heatwave

Temperature records across Europe are expected to be broken this week, with a record high of 45 degrees expected to hit France.

A potentially deadly early summer heatwave is expected to hit Europe this week, as meteorologists warn that previous highs are expected to be broken in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

France’s national meteorological service Météo-France is predicting peaks of 45 degrees in the southern towns of Nîmes and Carpentras – nearly four degrees higher than the highest reliable June temperature of 41.5 degrees previously recorded in France on 21 June 2003. as reported by The Guardian.

“The latest forecasts leave little room for doubt: we are heading for a new national record,” French forecaster Guillaume Woznica told The Guardian.

The country’s highest ever temperature, recorded at two separate locations in southern France on 12 August during the 2003 heatwave, was 44.1 degrees. The heatwave saw a reported estimation of 70,000 premature deaths.

High temperatures across Europe are expected to climb higher as the week goes on, as the combination of a storm stalling over the Atlantic and high pressure over central Europe pulls very hot air northwards from the Sahara, as reported by The Guardian.

While authorities placed health services and retirement homes on alert, urged children and older people to stay indoors, handed out free water and recommended vigilance against dehydration and heatstroke, French president Emmanuel Macron said: “As you know, at times like these, sick people, pregnant women, infants and elderly people are the most vulnerable.

“We must be vigilant and have preventive measures in place in order to intervene as quickly as possible.”

France’s health minister, Agnès Buzyn, told The Guardian the country was better prepared than in the 2003 heatwave, when a reported 15,000 more people died than in a normal summer.

“Our plans have got better and better,” she said. “Our alerts are more efficient.”

Buzyn went on to say that societal changes would need to occur for heat events that would likely become a regular occurrence across Europe.

“We will have to change the way we live, the way we act, the way we work, travel, dress … We are going to have to change our habits and stop thinking these episodes are exceptional.”

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