New heatwave in Europe starts to breaks records
Europeans cooled off in public fountains yesterday as a new heatwave 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° C (104° F) today, 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.
WHY IS IT SO HOT?
The second likely-to-be-record-breaking heatwave 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 United States.
This heatwave is a relatively short event where the heat comes with a southerly wind – and dust – from Africa’s Sahara Desert, in contrast to the big European heatwaves of 2003 and 2010 which lasted much longer and were sustained by a stationary high-pressure system with little wind, experts say.
At the end of June, several countries reported record temperatures, and France hit its all-time heat record: 46° C (114.8° F) in the small southern town of Verargues.