- UK authorities have described the extreme heat as a ‘national emergency’ and southern Britain is on an ‘extreme’ heat warning for the first time.
- In Spain, 237 deaths occurred due to high temperatures last week, according to the country’s Carlos III Institute, which records temperature-related deaths daily.
- The chances of temperatures like those predicted for next week are already 10 times higher than they would have been without the influence of human activity, said Met Office climatologist Nikos Christidis.
A continuous heat wave is fueling wildfires, causing heat-related deaths and breaking records in Western Europe.
British authorities are issuing dire warnings as temperatures can reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit in southern Britain, an area generally known for its moderate summer heat, with July highs in the 70s. This is the first time such a forecast is made in the region.
Heat poses a serious health risk, as people will need to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. Few homes, flats, schools or small businesses in Britain have air conditioning, making residents particularly vulnerable.
Extreme heat is also putting the environment and homes at risk, with wildfires raging in Portugal, Spain and France.
UK authorities have labeled it a “national emergency” and southern Britain is under an “extreme” heat warning for the first time.
London Underground passengers are advised not to travel on Monday and Tuesday as the heat is expected to affect the tracks and could cause delays, authorities have said.
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Already deadly heat; raging forest fires
In Spain, 237 deaths occurred due to high temperatures last week, according to the country’s Carlos III Institute, which records temperature-related deaths daily.
The heat has helped fuel raging wildfires in several countries:
- In Francefirefighters struggled on Saturday to contain a massive wildfire that ripped through the pine forests of the Bordeaux region for a fifth consecutive day.
- In Portugal, more than 160 people have been injured by wildfires and hundreds have been forced to evacuate. The pilot of a firefighting plane also died when his plane crashed.
- Spain also battling several wildfires, including two that have burned about 18,200 acres and caused the evacuation of about 3,000 people.
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How hot will it be in Britain, Portugal, Spain?
British authorities have issued their first-ever ‘red’ warning for extreme heat next week, declaring a national emergency as forecasters predict record temperatures will put people, even those who are otherwise healthy, at risk of serious illness and death without proper precautions.
- In the UK, the warning covers Monday and Tuesday, when temperatures in south-east Britain, where London is located, could reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The British record is 101.7 degrees, set in 2019.
- The temperatures inside the Portugal are expected to reach 111 degrees Fahrenheit last week and could reach as high as 120 degrees next week, according to AccuWeather.
- Seville, Spain was a particularly hot spot, recording a temperature of 105 for nine straight days. Parts of the country could then reach 120, according to AccuWeather.
Leaders point finger at climate change
The chances of temperatures like those predicted for next week are already 10 times higher than they would have been without the influence of human activity, said Nikos Christidis, a climatologist at the UK Met Office.
“We were hoping not to come to this situation, but for the first time we are predicting over 40°C (104°F) in the UK,” Christidis said. “In a recent study, we found that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK has increased and will continue to do so over the century.”
The UK Health Security Agency has raised its own hot weather alert to the highest level, placing it in a “national emergency”. The warning system was created in 2004, when concerns about climate change prompted authorities to develop their first plan to protect the public from intense heat.
Contributor: Associated Press