Southern Europe struggles in the heat wave

Barcelona heat wavePeople sunbathe on a beach during a hot summer day in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. Hot air from Africa is bringing a heat wave to Europe, prompting health warnings about Sahara Desert dust and exceptionally high temperatures that could peak at 47 degrees Celsius (117 Fahrenheit) in Spain and Portugal. Photo: Manu Fernandez / AP

Southern Europe struggles due to the heat wave

People stay indoors, in the shade or on the beach when the heat wave approaches record levels in southern Europe. In Portugal, a larger forest fire rages.


The heat wave was expected to peak on Saturday, but the high temperatures may last for several days.

The heat that affects southern Europe is brought north by hot winds (Kalima) from the Sahara desert.

In Portugal, the authorities had sent out a level red warning for extreme heat in more than half the country on Saturday, when temperatures rose to 46 degrees centigrade.

It is still a little lower than the national heat record of 47.4 degrees centigrade dating from 2003. The European record is held by Athens dating back to1977 and is at a searing 48 degrees centigrade.

A status report from the European continent


Nearly 740 firemen fought against a forest fire consisting of two fronts in Monchique in Faro in the south on Saturday. The flames were assisted by an actual temperature of 46 degrees but perceived as a temperature of 50 degrees centigrade accompanied by very low humidity, the local Rescue Leader told local media.

In the capital of Lisbon, playgrounds are closed and the authorities encourage people to drop the picnic and generally avoid being outdoors.

Accommodation homes for homeless people have extended opening hours so that people can seek shelter from the heat during the day.

Evora in the south of Portugal was almost like a ghost town, and only a few foreign tourists dared to venture outside to take pictures of the Roman ruins.

– It’s horrible. We are from Canada and have never known such heat, says tourist Paul Snell.


The searing heat in Pania continued on Saturday, and in Cordoba, Sevilla and Badajoz it was announced temperatures of 45 degrees centigrade on Saturday. Spain’s national record was recorded in Cordoba in July 2017 with a sizzling 46.9 degrees centigrade.

Here too, there are brush and forest fires. A forest fire near the border with France led to a major motorway between the two neighbouring countries being closed on Saturday. Six planes and helicopters are inserted into the fight against the fire.

The heat wave has already led to three deaths in Spain, according to the authorities. A homeless man died of heat stroke on Friday. Earlier this week, a road worker and pensioner also died as a result of the heat.


A total of four nuclear reactors are closed in France. The French energy company EDF explains that the water in the rivers used for cooling is quite simply too hot to use.

This weekend, many return home from their vacation, while the exodus starts for those who have a holiday in August. That makes it congested on French roads. On Saturday morning the authorities reported of 670 kilometres of traffic jams on the extremely hot tarmac roads.


In Vienna, police dogs in service during a sand volleyball tournament were fitted with special shoes. Although temperatures are not expected to exceed 34 degrees centigrade, the sand can heat up to 50 degrees under the sun, and that is too hot for patrolling dog paws as well.

In Zurich in neighbouring Switzerland, the police provided their dogs with paw socks earlier this week.

If the sidewalk feels too hot for a human hand after five seconds, it is also too hot for the dog paws, the Zurich police warned on Tuesday.

The Netherlands

The Dutch authorities have closed off parts of some motorways because the tarmac has melted in the heat.

In the city of Zwolle, the authorities have begun cutting branches from around one hundred poplar trees. The fear is that the branches will break in the heat and pose a risk to both motorists and pedestrians, according to the national broadcaster NOS.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today