Intense, record-breaking heat wave grips western Europe

Madrid Desk, Jul 18 (EFE).- Large swathes of Europe were baking amid record breaking hot weather on Monday.

A combination of a high pressure system brought by the Jet stream over the Atlantic, unusually arid conditions on the ground following months of lower than normal rainfall, and extreme temperatures in North Africa are driving the intense heatwave.

In Spain, authorities have attributed 510 deaths to the prolonged heat wave that saw daily highs of between 39 and 45C (102-113F)

Both Spain and neighboring Portugal have been fighting dozens of forest fires triggered by the extreme heat and prolonged drought.

Parts of France, including northwestern Brittany, were seeing the highest temperatures since records began in 1949.

In the port of Brest, highs of 39C were forecast for Monday afternoon, while in Rennes the temperature was expected to reach 41C.

The heat will also extend to the north and east of France, with 39C expected in Paris and 35C in Strasbourg, although the southwest, with up to 41C in Bordeaux or 42C in Mont de Marsan, will continue to be the worst affected region.

Two large wildfires in southwest France, a major tourist destination, have forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

Italy, which has also been struggling with unseasonal high temperatures and a deficit of rain, was preparing for another heat wave with high temperatures of up to 42C for several northern and central regions.

Records were tumbling in Ireland, which registered Dublin’s highest ever temperature with 33C on Monday.

Several parts of Ireland saw temperatures exceeding 30C — which is highly unusual for the island — with the heat expected to continue into Tuesday with highs of between 25 and 30C.

Officials in the UK have issued a red alert warning for the first time for England, which was expected to register highs of 40C, while the Netherlands — which has implemented a so-called National Heat Plan — was also bracing for temperatures that could reach 39C on Tuesday. EFE


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