Friday’s temperatures proved oppressive for Europeans as the mercury rose to break records across the continent where natives are not so much in the habit of tolerating overbearing heat. Reuters reported that France registered its highest-ever temperature today as the record-setting heat wave has baked much of Europe. The report said mercury hit 44.3 degrees Celsius (111.8 Fahrenheit) in Carpentras, in the southerly Provence region, surpassing the previous high of 44.1 degrees Celsius which was recorded in August, 2003.
Four administrative departments in France have been placed on red alert, signalling temperatures of “dangerous intensity”. Temperatures in parts of Spain are also expected to hit a new record of 43°C Friday.
Sizzling Europe battles wildfires, health risks
This summer’s intense heat waves have caused raging wildfires across the Catalonian region in Spain. Reuters reported that Spanish firefighters have struggled to douse wildfires across a swathe of land that measures around 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) in the northeastern region of Catalonia. They warned that the affected area could increase as much as fivefold because of the fierce heat and winds.
Authorities have postponed summer examinations in France and northern regions in the country have been put on drought alert. Water supplies to businesses, farmers and ordinary residents have been restricted. French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume has announced a ban on the transportation of animals until the end of the inclement heatwave.
Heat-related Deaths in France, Spain
Jerome Saloman, head of national public health in France informed Reuters that four drownings had been recorded in France following the start of the week and they were directly linked to the heatwave. The incidents have taken place as people try to cool themselves in in the face of oppressive heat.
However, Saloman said that the number is expected to rise as a full toll directly linked to the heatwave would only be known in the days or weeks ahead.
In the city of Valladolid in central Spain, an old man of 93 years of age collapsed and died due to the heat, the police said was quoted as saying by Reuters. Also, in the outskirts of Cordoba, a 17-year-old agricultural worker reportedly died of heat-related effects after jumping into a swimming pool to cool off after a day working in the fields, regional health authorities informed.
2015-2019 to be the hottest years ever
The World Meteorological Organization has announced that 2019 was on track to be among the world’s hottest years and that 2015-2019 would then be the hottest-ever five-year period on record. The heatwave, it stated, was “absolutely consistent” with its extremes having a link to the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.