Europe suffocates in June’s record heat wave
Many parts of the region exceeded 40°C, although thunderstorms are expected by late evening.
Swimmers jump into the water from a platform on the beach at Saint-Jean de Luz in southwestern France as heatwave conditions sweep across France and western Europe. Source: Getty / GAIZKA IROZ/AFP via Getty Images
The scorching heat didn’t put off heavy metal aficionados attending the Hellfest festival in Clisson on the outskirts of the western city of Nantes; fans headed for the few shaded areas available as temperatures soared past 40C.
Those who found the energy to headbang to the beat of the music were grateful to have several water fountains on hand that periodically sprinkled them.
Festival-goers cool off under the water walls set up by the festival’s technical team during the Hellfest festival in Clisson, France. Source: Getty / Getty Images/Getty Images
Queues of hundreds and traffic jams have formed outside water parks in France as people see the water as the only refuge from the scorching heat.
“This is the first heat wave ever recorded in France” since 1947, said Matthieu Sorel, climatologist at Météo France, as June records fell in a dozen regions, which leads him to qualify the weather as a “marker of climate change”.
Parisians sit by the Seine after a day of high temperatures of nearly 40C in what is expected to be a new record for the hottest June day in the city. Source: Getty / Kiran Ridley/Getty Images
Forest fires are raging
The country’s farmers must adapt.
Firefighters were still battling blazes in several other areas, including the forests of Catalonia.
A man cools off in a fountain in downtown Madrid, Spain, as a heat wave batters southwestern Europe. Source: AAP / Manu Fernandez/AP
Temperatures above 40°C were forecast for parts of the country on Saturday, with highs of 43°C expected in the northeastern city of Zaragoza.
There have also been fires in Germany, where temperatures are expected to reach 40C on Saturday, although they only reached 36C. A fire in the Brandenburg region around Berlin had spread about 60 acres Friday night.
A taste of the future
“I think right now people are just enjoying it being warm, but if it’s warmer than that, which I think it’s supposed to do, then that’s a concern,” said Claire Moran, editor in London.
People hang out on Primrose Hill in London during a brief heatwave. Source: Getty / Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima
Several towns in northern Italy have announced water rationing and the Lombardy region could declare a state of emergency as record drought threatens crops.
“What we are witnessing today is unfortunately a taste of the future” if concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to rise and push global warming towards 2C from pre-industrial levels, a- she added.