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Temperature records fall in France, unprecedented heat wave in Great Britain

Temperature records fell one after the other on Monday in several French cities, under a heat wave that is affecting Western Europe, the United Kingdom risking crossing the 40°C threshold for the first time on Tuesday.

This is the second phenomenon of its kind in barely a month in Europe, which has led to violent fires in the Iberian Peninsula and in France. The multiplication of heat waves is a direct consequence of global warming according to scientists, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.

In France, the map has turned crimson over a large part of the Atlantic coast, with 15 departments on red alert for a heat wave. Records have been broken in several cities – 39.5°C in Saint-Brieuc, 42°C in Nantes or 42.6°C in Biscarosse, according to Météo France. The absolute record in the country, 46°C, was reached on June 28, 2019 in Vérargues (South).

The “preventive evacuation” of 8,000 people was undertaken on Monday in two districts of La Teste-de-Buch (south-west), a town in the very touristy Arcachon basin affected by a huge fire for several days, on the edge of the Atlantic, announced the prefecture.

“I’m going to my daughter’s (in another district of La Teste) but if it burns out there too, I don’t know what to do,” says Patricia Monteil, a forty-year-old filling her car “in panic”. Referring to “non-standard” blazes, the director of the Gironde fire brigade, Marc Vermeulen, underlines that unprecedented phenomena are observed: “the fire literally explodes”, “the trunks of 40-year-old pines burst”. More than 13,000 hectares of vegetation have already burned in the department.

“Warming really there”

For the first time, the British Health Security Agency has issued a level 4 alert, the highest level, corresponding to a national emergency, warning of the risks that the heat poses even to young people and / or in healthy.

“Global warming is really here. We must act in the face of this phenomenon… and also learn to live with it”, commented Gary Evans, a 68-year-old retiree in the seaside resort of Tankerton, in the south-east of the country. The hottest temperatures in Britain are expected for Tuesday and could exceed the 40°C threshold, a first in the country. The British record dates back to July 25, 2019, with 38.7 degrees recorded in Cambridge, in the east of England.

Some schools will remain closed, while major disruptions are expected in transport. On Monday, Wales already exceeded its record with 37.1°C. At Kew Garens in London, 37.5°C was recorded. Traffic at London’s Luton Airport has been suspended due to a “surface defect” on the runway due to the heat.

Fires in Spain

Spain has been in the grip of a suffocating heat wave for more than a week which has caused numerous fires that have ravaged tens of thousands of hectares.

On Monday, almost the entire country remained on “extreme risk” fire alert, the highest level. Spain, which has been suffocating since July 10 with highs well above 40°C and falling little at night, should experience a very short respite at the start of the week. “Climate change kills people (…) but also our ecosystem, our biodiversity”, reacted Monday the president of the government Pedro Sanchez. Raging fires have killed a shepherd in northwestern Spain, the second fatality after a firefighter in the same area on Sunday.

Hottest day of the year in the Netherlands

After beating its temperature record for the month of July on Thursday, with 47°C recorded in the north of the country, Portugal should experience a much cooler day, ending a week of heat wave.

In the center and north of the country, some 800 firefighters were still fighting four fires on Monday. According to civil protection, the forest fires in 10 days left two dead, five seriously injured and led to the evacuation of 960 people. Nearly 44,000 hectares have burned since the start of the year, according to the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation, more than in 2017, when the fires killed around 100 people.

The Netherlands recorded its hottest day of the year so far on Monday, with the temperature reaching 33.6 degrees in the southwestern town of Westdorpe. On Tuesday, temperatures could reach 38-39°C in the south and center of the Netherlands. Belgium also fears heat records on Tuesday, the thermometer can climb in places up to 40 ° C, according to the Royal Institute of Meteorology (IRM). Schedules have been arranged for certain trades exposed to heat.

About half of the territory of the EU is currently facing a risk of drought due to the prolonged lack of precipitation, which exposes countries such as France, Romania, Spain, Portugal and Italy to a probable decline in crop yields, according to the European Commission.

Temperature records fell one after another on Monday in several French cities, under a heat wave that is affecting Western Europe, the United Kingdom risking crossing the 40°C threshold for the first time on Tuesday. this is the second phenomenon of its kind in barely a month in Europe, which has led to violent fires in the Iberian Peninsula and…

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