‘Hellish’ Heatwave Coming to Europe
Europe is about to stare down an unprecedented heatwave next week, and that could spell trouble for the population and increase risk of forest fires. What steps are being taken to prepare?
Temperatures could reach or exceed 40C throughout the continent, as hot air from the Sahara is being brought over by a stalled storm over the Atlantic Ocean and high pressure over central Europe. “El Infierno,” as a Spanish meteorologist put it, is also bringing such high humidity that children and older people have been urged to stay indoors, while Parisian officials have set up “cool rooms,” opened up pools for late-night swimming, and installed 1,000 additional drinking fountains across the city.
The heatwave is unprecedented due to its timing – early June is highly unusual for these kinds of temperatures. France’s most deadly recent heatwave was in August 2003, where nearly 15,000 died and hospitals were overwhelmed.
European officials have been quick to communicate the dangers with the populace in part because of a similarly harsh heatwave last year, which saw a dramatic decline in crop yields, a shutdown of nuclear power plants, and even wildfires inside the Arctic Circle, particularly in Sweden.
In other words, due to extreme climate change, heatwaves like this should be expected to become the norm, and from local governments to large companies, everyone will need to prepare to protect the populace and the surrounding environment.