LONDON – Weather maps for Europe were blood red on Sunday as the heat scorched Spain and Italy, while fanning the fires in southwestern France in a northerly direction towards Britain.
In London, the weather was warm in the high 80s, but temperatures on Monday and Tuesday are forecast to hit 100 or higher and break records in a place where air conditioning and buildings are rare. Built to retain heat.
In France, extreme temperatures have caused wildfires in the south that are expected to sweep into the north, particularly along the The Atlantic coast, which is struggling with scorching hot weather.
In Italy, where temperatures were predicted to be in the 90s on Sunday, the heat was bad enough, 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 suffering from water shortages in the northern regions. Two hydroelectric plants had to close in the area because there was not enough water for cooling.
And in Spain, a heatwave has entered its eighth day, with 30 wildfires burning across the country. Relief is difficult to find, even after sunset – Saturday night was Madrid’s fifth “rainy night” in a row, a term used when temperatures don’t fall below 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous record was three nights. Rubén del Campo, a spokesman for the State Meteorological Administration, said that of the 27 nights of thunderstorms recorded in the past century, more than half, 15, have been since 2012.
Like everywhere else on Earth, Europe is seeing extreme weather events more often, in part as a result of climate change. To prove it, one only has to look back to last summer, when the floods swept through Germany and other countries in July, killing hundreds of people. In August, Many wildfires burned large areas of Greece. And, also in August, a town in Sicily may have recorded The hottest temperature ever in Europe: 124 degrees Fahrenheit.
But on Sunday, attention in France focused on the forest fire, in the southwestern Gironde region near Bordeaux, where more than 1,200 firefighters were still struggling to contain two separate blazes.
Local authorities say the fires have destroyed more than 25,000 acres of vegetation and displaced more than 14,000 people since Tuesday.
They say four firefighters have so far suffered minor injuries, and damage to buildings and homes has been minimal. However, authorities warned that the situation was unstable, with higher temperatures and wind changes expected on Monday.
Vincent Ferrier, a local official in Langon, an area of Gironde, told reporters on Sunday: “The weather conditions are very, very bad. “These are clearly the worst conditions you can encounter when fighting a fire.”
In Rome, which has been in the 90s for the past week, street vendors doze off in the shade on Sunday morning while tourists refill their water bottles from the famous fountains.
“It was hot – too hot for a day walk,” said Serena Vendoni, 57, a hairdresser from northern Italy visiting Rome with her family for a long weekend. “But it’s hot even at home. We have been turning on the AC daily and nightly for almost two months now.”
She says her family’s electricity bill has skyrocketed because the temperature has rarely been below 86 for weeks.
“We want to be careful with AC,” Ms. Vendoni said. Energy prices have skyrocketed in Europe partly due to the war in Ukraine. “But we have to be able to live in the house – and sleep.”
On Sunday in the UK, everyone made their own plans to weather the coming heat. The forecasts for Monday and Tuesday are very bad – on Friday, the country’s national weather agency issued the most severe warning it has for London and large parts of England.
The warning, a “red” warning, means life-threatening, and health officials stress that even healthy people can be adversely affected. The public has been warned to try Avoid the sun from 11 am to 3 pm, to make only necessary trips on those days, avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day and bring water with you.
Report contributed by Aurelien Breeden from Paris, Fracheska Melendez from Foz do Farelo, Portugal, Gaia Pianigiani from Rome and Euan ward from London.