Western Europe’s heatwave intensifies

Temperature records expected to fall as even hotter air spreads from the south

Even the UK’s all-time highest recorded temperature is under threat [Neil Hall/EPA-EFE]
Even the UK’s all-time highest recorded temperature is under threat [Neil Hall/EPA-EFE]

For parts of Western Europe this summer has been the hottest and driest in living memory. Yet the hottest weather is still to come, as a plume of super-heated air moves northwards from Iberia, threatening to break even more temperature records.

In the UK, the July record maximum temperature is 36.7 degrees Celsius, set at Heathrow airport in 2015. This record is likely to be broken during Thursday and Friday. Even the UK’s all-time highest recorded temperature, 38.5C recorded in Kent in 2003 is under threat.

The heatwave has caused transport difficulties, hit crops and prompted talk of hosepipe bans. But perhaps the best indicator of just how hot it is at the moment, is that the visiting Indian cricket team have asked for their match against Essex to be shortened from four days to three. They felt it was just too hot and energy sapping ahead of the start of the series against England.

In France, temperature records may fall, but Paris has recorded maximum temperatures of 40C in July on at least three occasions; 1947, 2003 and 2015. But the heat has contributed to pollution in the French capital, prompting the authorities to ban the use ofhigh-emission vehicle in the city.

The heat will also hit the Low Countries and records here, which in some cases go back 300 years, could be at risk.

This particular burst of heat is likely to come to a spectacular end across the UK and Northern France on Friday as intense thunderstorms ahead of a cold front, convert much of the heat energy into lightning and torrential rain.

Even then, temperatures will soon rise and the heatwave shows every sign of continuing at least as far as mid-August.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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