Brutal heat wave moves from UK and France to Central Europe


A relentless heat wave that brought record temperatures to Britain and parts of France is expected to move east through Central Europe on Wednesday, with scientists warning of “very high levels” of ozone pollution across much of the continent as temperatures rise.

The death toll from a heat dome emanating from a vast area of ​​high pressure over Western Europe is rising, with Portugal alone reporting more than 1,000 deaths from the latest heat wave. The Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere issued an “orange” warning of warm weather, the maximum level, on Wednesday.

Germany’s Weather Service predicted the heat focus would shift east after the country recorded its hottest day of the year yet on Tuesday, with temperatures reaching 103.1 degrees (39.5 degrees Celsius) in western Germany. the country.

Also cities in Belgium and the Netherlands registered temperatures Tuesday above 100 degrees, just short of records set in a July 2019 heat wave, according to weather historian Maximiliano Herrera.

Meanwhile, firefighters in France, Spain, Greece and Britain fought wildfires exacerbated by rising temperatures. Authorities have ordered a hospital in the Athens area to evacuate.

These maps show how extremely hot it is in Europe and the US

The London Fire Brigade declared a major incident on Tuesday as firefighters fought several major fires in the city, from Wembley in the north to Croydon in the south. Numerous residents were forced to flee as homes, vehicles and grassland went up in flames. Clouds of smoke passed over parts of the River Thames.

Tinder-dry conditions and extreme heat have greatly increased the chances of wildfires spreading, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Monitoring Service. A significant part of Western Europe is in “extreme fire risk,” it said Tuesday.

In addition to increased carbon emissions from the wildfires, Copernicus scientists warn that “very high levels” of ozone pollution caused by the heatwave could hit northern and western Europe in the coming days.

At low altitudes, ozone is one of the key elements of urban smog, according to Mark Parrington, a senior Copernicus scientist.

“The potential effects of very high ozone pollution on human health could be significant, both in terms of respiratory and cardiovascular disease,” he said in a statement.

How do you stay safe in extreme heat?

As some experts pointed to the role of human-influenced climate change in the record-shattering temperatures, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres convened a “moment for nature” on Tuesday.

“Our way of life – based on producing, consuming, throwing away and polluting – has put us in this terrible condition,” Guterres said in a video message.

“But as human activities are at the root of this planetary emergency, it means we also hold the key to the solutions. Now is the time to transform our relationship with nature and chart a new path,” he added.