LONDON. On Sunday, the weather charts for Europe were blood red as heatwaves that scorched Spain and Italy and fueled fires in southwestern France spread north towards the UK.
It was warm in London, around 80 degrees, but Monday and Tuesday temperatures were predicted to reach 100 or higher and break records in a place where air conditioning is rarely used and buildings are built to keep warm.
In France, the temperature extremes that caused wildfires in the south are expected to spread north, especially along the coast. The Atlantic coast, preparing for unusually scorching weather.
In Italy, where temperatures on Sunday were expected to be in the 90s, the heatwave was quite strong, but the country is also experiencing its worst drought in years. The government has allocated 36.5 million euros, about $36.8 million, to farmers in need of water in the northern regions. Two hydroelectric power stations had to be closed in the area due to lack of water to cool them.
And in Spain, the heat has already begun for the eighth day, 30 forest fires are raging across the country. Relief is hard to come by, even after sunset – Saturday night was the fifth consecutive “hot night” in Madrid, a term used when temperatures don’t dip below 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous record stood at around three nights. Ruben del Campo, a spokesman for the State Meteorological Agency, said that of the 27 hot nights recorded in the last century, more than half, 15, were from 2012.
As elsewhere on Earth, extreme weather events are occurring more frequently in Europe, partly as a result of climate change. As proof, we need only look back to last summer, when the floods washed Germany and other countries in Julykilling hundreds. In August, numerous forest fires engulfed large areas of Greece. And also in August, one city in Sicily may have recorded hottest temperature in Europe: 124 degrees Fahrenheit.
But on Sunday, attention in France was focused on wildfires in the southwestern Gironde region near Bordeaux, where more than 1,200 firefighters were still trying to contain two separate blazes.
The fires have destroyed more than 25,000 acres of vegetation and forced more than 14,000 people to evacuate since Tuesday, local officials said.
According to them, four firefighters received minor injuries, and damage to buildings and houses is minimal. However, authorities have warned that the situation is unstable, with rising temperatures and changeable wind expected on Monday.
“The weather conditions are very, very bad,” Vincent Ferrier, a local official in Langone, a district of the Gironde, told reporters on Sunday. “Obviously, these are the worst conditions you can have when you’re fighting a fire.”
In Rome, where it was the 90s last week, street vendors napped in the shade on Sunday mornings while tourists filled their bottles with water from the famous fountains.
“It’s hot—too hot to walk around during the day,” said Serena Wendoni, 57, a hairdresser from northern Italy who came to Rome with her family for a long weekend. But it’s hot even at home. We have been turning on the air conditioner every day and every night for almost two months.”
She said her family’s electricity bills had skyrocketed as temperatures rarely dropped below 86 for several weeks.
“We want to be careful with AC,” Ms. said. Wendoni said. Energy prices in Europe have jumped in part because of the war in Ukraine. “But we should be able to live in the house and sleep.”
On Sunday in Britain, people made their own plans to withstand the oncoming heat. The forecasts for Monday and Tuesday were terrible – On Friday, the country’s national weather service issued its most severe warning for London and large parts of England.
The warning, a “red” signal, is meant to indicate a risk to life, and health officials have stressed that even healthy people can be affected. The public has been warned about the attempt stay out of the sun from 11:00 to 15:00, make only necessary travel these days avoid exercise during the hottest time of the day and carry water with you.
Report has been provided Aurélien Breeden from Paris, Francesca Melendez from Foz do Farelo, Portugal, Gaia Pianigiani from Rome and Yuan Ward from London.