Southern Europe and France hit by heat, UK on red – Liberation

A heat wave, the second in just a month, is sweeping the south of France and the Iberian Peninsula. It should then hit Britain, on red alert.

A mercury that has risen to 40 degrees and more since the start of the week. Undoubtedly, a new heat wave is hitting the southern half of Europe. France is not spared in the wake of Spain and Portugal. The number of departments placed under heatwave orange surveillance by Météo France rose from 11 to 16 on Friday, in an east-west axis running from the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence to Bordeaux (the Alpes-de-Haute- Provence, Ardèche, Drôme, Gard, Gironde, Haute-Garonne, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Orientales, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne and Vaucluse).

If the maxima are variable on the northern half (between 25 and 31 degrees), they will fluctuate between 35 and 38 degrees further south this Friday, with peaks still at 39 or 40 degrees in places from the plains from the southwest to Roussillon and in Provence. In its latest bulletin, the Meteorological Institute predicts that from Saturday afternoon “temperatures will slowly rise in the northern half”other “very high” on the southern half.

“You have to get used to living with these heat waves”

This increase will continue on Sunday, especially in the southwest, “where 40°C will be reached more often. Temperatures reach exceptional levels on Sunday and Monday. in the western regions where many absolute records are expected, especially Monday, says Olivier Proust, forecaster for Météo-France. An unequivocal symptom of global warming, scientists say, is that greenhouse gas emissions are increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.

“We have a heat wave, it will take a bit, there will be more, that’s for sure, you have to get used to living with these heat waves by having the right reflexes”, in abundance on Friday the Minister of Health and Prevention, François Braun, in the presence of some journalists. Early in the afternoon, the minister went to the call center premises, in Romainville (Seine-Saint-Denis), for an update on the prevention of health risks related to the heat wave.

The toll-free “heat wave” number (0800 06 66 66) was reactivated early Wednesday morning, after being called for the first time in mid-June, by the previous tenant of the ministry, Brigitte Bourguignon. When calling the French can get “reviews, very well given”greeted the emergency physician by profession and added: “Of course it is essential, but it is not enough”.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), heat waves in the period 2015-2019 were accompanied by fires “unparalleled”, especially in Europe and North America. This summer of 2022 is no exception to the rule: fueled by this extreme heat, two fires have burned some 7,300 hectares in the Gironde since Tuesday. Caused on Thursday afternoon by the passage of a train that is believed to have generated sparks, a new fire destroyed at least 300 hectares near Avignon, in the southeast, before being rectified.

Britain’s first ever red warning

If the peak of this heat wave in Spain seems to have passed, the high temperatures this Friday still left no peace for residents. They will have to wait until early next week to experience slightly milder temperatures. At 7 a.m. it was already 37.2 degrees in the province of Badajoz (southwestern Spain) and maximums of 44 degrees were expected in the country on Friday against a maximum of 45.4 degrees in the center of the country on Thursday. In Portugal, where the mercury reached 47 degrees in the north on Thursday, a record for a July in the country, the maximum should drop to 41 degrees on Friday.

In the UK, which issued a red warning for the first time “extreme heat” for Monday and Tuesday residents are preparing for potentially unprecedented temperatures. “We never hoped to get to this situation, but for the first time we have forecasts above 40°C in the UK”, said climate scientist Dr Nikos Christidis of the Met Office. The absolute temperature record in the country (38.7 degrees) dates from 2019.

The NHS’s public health service has warned of a “to jump” heat-related hospitalizations, while train companies have not ruled out unexpected cancellations due to temperatures. Ireland and Belgium also expect a blistering start to the week with temperatures that can locally reach 32 and 38 degrees respectively.

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