Western Europe faces an exceptional heat wave
The mercury reached 47 degrees at a square in Ourense, northwestern Spain, during this second heat wave of the year in Europe.
With mercury above 40°C in Spain or Portugal, Western Europe was facing a second exceptional heat wave on Tuesday in barely a month, with a very worrying impact on soils and glaciers.
The multiplication of these phenomena is a direct consequence of global warming, according to scientists, greenhouse gas emissions increasing both their intensity, their duration and their frequency.
A new heat wave, the second this year, is moving into Western Europe. It mainly affects Spain and Portugal, but is expected to intensify and spread, said Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization, in Geneva.
It is accompanied by drought with very very dry soils and has a worrying impact on the glaciers in the Alps which are really affected at the moment, she said continued.
This is a very bad season for glaciers, as we are relatively early summer, she warned, just over a week after the winter. collapse in Italy of a huge block of the Marmolada glacier, weakened by global warming, a tragedy that left eleven dead.
In Spain, temperatures were expected to cross the 40°C mark again in much of the western half of the country on Tuesday, according to the weather agency (Aemet), with maximum temperatures expected at least 42°C, as in the province of Ourense (north-west), yet located in one of the coolest regions of the country.
The peak of this heat wave is expected to last until Thursday in the country, with temperatures expected to reach 43-44°C in the Tagus or Guadalquivir valleys.
A coachman and his horse try to cool off in Seville, Spain, hit by a second wave of exceptional heat.
In the streets of Madrid, this heat was extremely difficult to bear for vulnerable people or employees who cannot benefit from the freshness of an air-conditioned office.
It's hell, sighed, sweat on the brow, Dania Arteaga, a 43-year-old Venezuelan, between two strokes of a squeegee to clean the windows of a store in the center of the Spanish capital.
Favored by these exceptional temperatures, several fires broke out in the country, one of which had already ravaged 2,500 hectares of vegetation on Tuesday in Extremadura (west).
Speaking in Parliament, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pledged more resources to fight wildfires fueled by the global climate emergency.
In Portugal, the risk of fire prompted the authorities to close the Sintra Park, located west of Lisbon, whose castles are visited by tourists from all over the world.
Given the severity of the weather situation forecast until the end of the week, it is essential to exercise maximum caution, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Monday, as temperatures were expected to exceed 40°C in much of the territory on Tuesday.
In a country that remains traumatized by the deadly fires of 2017, which killed more than a hundred people, the government has declared a state of contingency at least until Friday, in order to reinforce the mobilization of the emergency services and increase their powers.
A sign of danger, a fire that had ravaged 2,000 hectares in the town of Ourém (center) since Thursday before being contained on Monday reactivated Tuesday at the end of the morning.
The heatwave will also affect the UK, where the National Weather Service (Met Office) has warned that temperatures could exceed 35 degrees from Sunday.
This heat wave also affected France, where temperatures should be between 36°C and 38°C on Tuesday in the south-west and the Rhône valley, with possible peaks at 39°C.
The French agency Météo France expects at least a heat wave lasting eight to ten days, with a peak probably between Saturday and next Tuesday, i.e. July 19.
A situation that led Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne to call on the entire government to mobilize to deal with a heat wave that is having a very rapid on the state of health of the populations, in particular the most vulnerable people.
This heat wave should then spread to other parts of ;Western or central Europe.
In the UK, the National Meteorological Service (Met Office) has issued an orange alert ahead of an extreme heat wave starting Sunday, with temperatures that can exceed 35°C.