Almost all of Europe is experiencing intense heat this week as a major heatwave continues to lay waste to the country, resulting in triple-digit weather and record-breaking heat.
If this sounds like something you read last month, you’re not wrong – in June and early July Europe saw a similar heatwave which broke temperature highs in parts of France. This is even worse, and it isn’t expected to be the last of the summer heat, either.
Europe as a whole is projected to continue to have a hotter-than-average July and August, before finally cooling off for fall. This is especially dangerous in places with very old infrastructure. Homes and buildings from 250 years ago simply do not have central air and hold onto the stifling heat.
The KNMI, or the Dutch meteorological service, said they recorded temperatures Wednesday afternoon of 39.1 degrees Celsius, or about 102 degrees Fahrenheit. That beat the record from 1944, which was already at an impressively high 38.6 degrees Celsius.
Belgium just barely squeaked past the record with a high of 38.9 degrees Celsius. The previous record was 38.8 set in June of 1947.
It isn’t projected to cool off in the next few days there, but at least the worst should be behind them. These areas are not projected to get any hotter than they already have.
Bordeaux, Brive, and Chateauroux, France, have all made record highs on Tuesday, with each city hitting over 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature in Brive, France, in a normal July month is just over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can understand why people are worried about the heat. More than 20 degrees over average is not normal.
Paris is expected to break records later this week with temperatures as high as 107 degrees Fahrenheit, or 42 degrees Celsius. The city has already issued a heat warning for the residents and is making plans to help eliminate any deaths from this intense heatwave.
Spain and Portugal have already warned their residents about burning outside due to the risk of wildfires. The intense, prolonged heat makes the perfect conditions for a fire to start, and once started it will be very hard to shut down.
Eurostar is also recommending people not to travel if they don’t have to after a train got stopped for over two hours on the tracks. The intense heat is causing malfunctions in their system.
A bridge in Rotterdam was sprayed with water to prevent the metal from expanding due to the heat. Much of the infrastructure of Europe is simply not equipped to deal with this kind of weather.
This heatwave has already been compared by officials to the intense heat the country experienced in 2003. It’s believed upwards of 15,000 died due to the conditions. At least 5 deaths have been reported in France alone.