That's how bad the current heat wave is hitting Europe

Large parts of Europe groaned under an exceptionally early heat wave over the weekend. In Germany, according to the German Weather Service, the peak value of 36.4 degrees was measured on Saturday in Waghäusel-Kirrlach on the Upper Rhine. Several temperature records were set in France, the peak being 42.9 degrees in Biarritz. Forest fires have already destroyed thousands of hectares of forest in Spain, and there have also been forest fires near Berlin and in France.

According to the DWD, values ​​​​of around 35 degrees were measured on Saturday in a wide strip from southwest Germany to eastern Saxony. With the exception of the coastal regions and higher-lying areas as well as in the south-east of Bavaria, the temperatures rose well above the 30-degree mark over the course of the day. In stark contrast, it stayed at 20.2 degrees in Erfde in Schleswig-Holstein. It should be very hot again on Sunday.

Earliest heat wave since 1947 hits France

In France, the weather service Météo France spoke of the earliest heat wave since 1947. New temperature records were set for June in eleven areas. In Biarritz, southwestern France, the highest value since records began was 42.9 degrees. Numerous festivals, sporting and cultural events have been canceled across the country. In Bordeaux, the museums waived the entrance fee for visitors at temperatures of 40 degrees.

In the Var region of southern France, artillery exercises by the army triggered a forest fire, and around 600 hectares of land went up in flames. Here, too, ammunition loads hindered the extinguishing work. According to the fire department, people were not affected, only 2,500 sheep had to be brought to safety. Thunderstorms were expected for the French Atlantic coast on Sunday evening.

Devastating fires in Spain, extreme drought in Italy

In Spain, forest fires devastated almost 20,000 hectares of land in the Sierra de la Culebra mountain range in the north-west of the country, 14 towns were evacuated as a precaution and hundreds of people had to leave their homes. In several other regions, emergency services fought other fires.

In northern Italy, the Po Valley is suffering from the worst drought in 70 years, and several municipalities rationed water distribution. According to the Coldiretti agricultural association, the country’s dairy cows are currently producing ten percent less milk than normal because of the heat.

According to scientists, the increase in heat waves and droughts is a direct result of global warming. The intensity as well as the duration and frequency of these phenomena are increasing. Climate change is leading to earlier heat waves, explained Clare Nullis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva. “Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is a foretaste of the future” if greenhouse gas emissions do not decrease, the expert warned. According to the WMO, the number of severe weather disasters increased fivefold between 1970 and 2019.

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