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Europe heat wave breaks Belgian record, mercury to rise more

Published:Wednesday | July 24, 2019 | 3:36 PM
People cool down in the fountains as temperatures reached 30 degrees Celsius, at Toldbod Plads in Aalborg, Denmark, Wednesday July 24, 2019. (Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Europeans cooled off in public fountains Wednesday as a new heat wave spread across parts of the continent and is already breaking records.

Belgium registered its highest-ever temperature while the Netherlands saw its hottest day in 75 years.

And the mercury is expected to rise even further.

Paris and other parts of France could see temperatures exceeding 40 Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit on Thursday along with Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

The heat is putting pressure on authorities to help protect the elderly and the sick. Air conditioning is not common at homes, offices, schools or hospitals in European cities.

The weather is also aggravating droughts since it hasn’t rained much in many parts of Europe this summer.

The combination of heat, wind and possible lightning from thunderstorms also increases the risk of wildfires.

The second likely-to-be-record-breaking heat wave in two months in Europe includes some of the same ingredients of the first — hot dry air coming from northern Africa.

That hot air is trapped between cold stormy systems in the Atlantic and eastern Europe and forms “a little heat dome,” said Ryan Maue, a private meteorologist in the U.S.

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