People, especially children and the elderly in Europe are being urged to stay indoors as a “remarkably intense” and record-breaking heatwave begins to sweep across parts of the continent this week.
It will be caused by hot air moving north from Africa, causing a sharp increase in hot weather across the continent, according to meteorologists. The unprecedented week-long heatwave will see temperatures in cities from Spain to Germany exceed 32C and climb to more than 38C or even 40C in the hottest areas, according to a report by The Guardian.
Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said: “Warm air from north Africa will bring an extensive heatwave to large parts of western and central Europe, with highs into the 40s in Germany and France.”
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The heatwave is the result of a “combination of a storm stalling over the Atlantic Ocean and high pressure over central and eastern Europe will act to pull very hot air from Africa northward across Europe,” AccuWeather said.
Much of Europe will experience at least one day of intense heat. Spain is expected to feel the first wave of “intense” heat before the high temperatures spread into France, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Italy.
“This will set the stage for a potentially dangerous heat wave to occur over a large portion of western and central Europe,” AccuWeather said.
It further indicated that cities from Madrid to Berlin, including Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt, were likely to experience a “multi-day heatwave” in the first half of the week, with similar temperatures of 32C or above expected further east later in Bucharest, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and Sofia.
“Multiple days of extreme heat combined with warm nights will not allow buildings and homes without air conditioning to cool off, creating uncomfortable sleeping conditions and also raising the risk of heat-related illnesses,” AccuWeather said.
“The elderly and children are most at risk from such ailments, and outdoor exposure should be limited during the hottest times of the day to reduce the risk of illness.”
In France, where temperatures of between 35C and 40C were expected across most of the country, officials in Paris have set up series of ‘cool places’ in public buildings, installed additional drinking fountains, among others for people, especially the vulnerable.
Spain’s state meteorological agency AEMET has issued a “yellow alert” for the upcoming temperatures, which could reach 42C in some areas, according to Sky News. Germany’s Deutscher Wetterdienst has also warned that the extreme heatwave will peak on Wednesday or Thursday while in Britain, forecasters warn temperatures could tip towards 31C by Saturday.
Last year, a similar heatwave with record-breaking temperatures wreaked havoc across Europe, resulting in deaths in Spain and Portugal, as well as, devastating wildfires and drought conditions in Germany and Sweden.
Meteorologists warn that such heatwaves are likely to become regular events in the coming decades even if countries work towards limiting their global temperature increases to 1.5C as agreed by the 2015 Paris climate accord.