Disasters & Accidents

UK braces for second heatwave as drought spreads across Europe

Madrid Desk, Aug 8 (EFE).- The United Kingdom is braced for a second heatwave of the summer this week, with temperatures expected to reach up to 35C (95F), the Met office reported Monday.

Although temperatures will not be as high as those recorded in July, which saw historic temperatures of up to 40.3C, this heatwave will persist for a “prolonged period”, meteorologists warned.

Authorities have urged people to avoid barbecues due to a lack of rainfall in the past month that has resulted in very dry grass, increasing the risk of fires.

“While summer weather usually provides the perfect opportunity to host a barbecue or gather around a chiminea in the evening, we’re strongly discouraging people from having any kinds of fires at the moment,” Essex County Fire and Rescue Service manager, Neil Fenwick, said.

“The ground across Essex is extremely dry, allowing fires to spread easily and quickly,” he added.

Temperatures in Belgium, which is also suffering from prolonged drought, are expected to reach up to 35C this week as the country officially enters its first heatwave of the summer.

This year’s drought is the country’s worst since 1976 and has prompted authorities to plan new drinking water reservoirs to prepare for the future.

According to the head of the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, this week will be the hottest of the year, although it will not reach levels recorded in 2019 when thermometers hit 40.6 in parts of the country.

Belgium had an abnormally dry spring, recording just a third of the historical total average rainfall for that period.

In June, temperatures exceeded 30 degrees on 16 days, while July was the driest month in 137 years, with only five millimeters of rainfall in Brussels compared to the average of 76.9 millimeters.

The scarcity of rain in the southern region of Wallonia, where several municipalities have already imposed water consumption restrictions, is in stark contrast to the floods in July last year that killed 39 people, the biggest natural disaster in Belgian history.

The unprecedented drought is also affecting neighboring France, where the majority of its 96 departments are on alert and serious damage to agriculture and restrictions in much of the country have prompted the government to activate a crisis cabinet.

More than 100 towns have run out of drinking water and will rely on truck deliveries, France’s ecological transition minister Christophe Béchu said on a visit to Roumoules in the southeast.

“We already have more than a hundred municipalities in France that today have no more drinking water, and for which supplies are being transported by truck to these municipalities because there is nothing left in the pipes,” Béchu said. EFE


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