Bordeaux, France, 18 June 2022 (AFP) – The unseasonable heatwave that has gripped Southern Europe for several days spread across France on Saturday and intensified, triggering forest fires in Spain. is becoming the norm due to climate change caused by emissions and greenhouse gases.
Nearly all French territory has been affected, with several sections of the Atlantic coast and the southwest of the country under the highest level of red surveillance. Temperatures are expected to rise to 42°C.
A record temperature of 42.9ºC was recorded in the city of Biarritz, one of the warmest seaside resorts in the southwest, the Météo-France agency reported.
In Paris, residents sought fountains scattered around the city, as it was not possible to bathe in the Seine. And in Bordeaux, where thermometers hit 40ºC in the southwest, access was free at cooler museums.
(17) On Friday, June temperature records were broken in at least 11 municipalities in France, including Carcassonne (south), where the thermometer reached 40.4°C.
Authorities have taken special precautions in homes for the elderly, with institutions still bearing the scars of the deadly heatwave that killed more than 15,000 people in 2003.
“This is the most anticipated heat wave recorded in France since 1947,” said Matthieu Sorel, climatologist from Météo-France, noting that this is “an indicator of climate change.”
Météo-France Service reported that from midnight today, storms could hit the French Atlantic coast, allowing a “progressive pullback” in temperature to be limited to the east.
– Fires and evacuations in Spain – Officials said a 600-hectare fire was caused by a shell fire at a military training ground in the province of Var, in the south of France, in the province of Saint Tropez. Two more fires were recorded in the area.
In Spain, which is expected to be the last day of the heat wave, firefighters continued to fight the fires today. One of these epidemics has already devastated 20,000 hectares in the northwest of the country.
The most intense fire forced authorities to evacuate hundreds of residents from 14 villages in the Sierra de la Culebra, a mountain massif in the Castilla y León region near the Portuguese border.
The fires also caused the closure of a highway and a high-speed rail between Madrid and Galicia (northwest).
Spain has been experiencing an extraordinary heat wave for almost a week.
According to the Spanish meteorological agency Aemet, the heat wave should end this Sunday (19) with the arrival of a cold air mass from the west.
Recording the warmest May since the turn of the century, Spain has experienced four extreme heat events in the last ten months, including the current heat wave.
– ‘Human disaster’ – Heat wave (17) in Germany began on Friday and this Saturday the temperature reached a record 36.4ºC in Waghäusel-Kirrlach in the southwestern part of the country, according to the German Meteorological Institute (DWD).
At least two fires have been declared so far. One of them was destroying 60 hectares in the Brandenburg region around Berlin; and the other was already under control in the Trektal Valley, burning 6.5 acres of forest southwest of the capital.
However, according to DWD, storms are expected in the north of the country Saturday night with winds of up to 95 km/h, hail and heavy rains.
The UK experienced the hottest day of the year on Friday, with temperatures above 30ºC in the afternoon, according to meteorologists.
Some cities in northern Italy have announced water rationing. Additionally, the region of Lombardy could declare a state of emergency as a record drought threatens crops.
“It’s time to act, every action counts,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, secretary-general of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), at a conference in Madrid.
On Friday, the UN called for “immediate action” against drought and desertification to prevent “human disasters”.