Temperatures could exceed 40 ° C in the United Kingdom on Tuesday , an unprecedented event in the country, affected by the heat wave that is hitting Western Europe and has caused forest fires that remain uncontrollable on the Iberian Peninsula. This is the second heat wave recorded in just one month in Europe, whose increase is, according to scientists, a direct consequence of the climate crisis, since greenhouse gas emissions increase in intensity, duration and frequency.
In Spain, where the extreme heat wave began nine days ago, the fires persisted, especially in the province of Zamora (northwest), which already suffered a major fire a month ago. According to regional authorities, almost 6,000 people had to be evacuated because of the flames, which have destroyed several thousand hectares of meadows and forests.
Rail traffic remained suspended between Madrid and Galicia, a northwestern region known as one of Europe’s largest wolf reserves, where almost 30,000 hectares of land had already burned in a previous fire in June. The Spanish state meteorology agency, Aemet, announced a slight truce, after several days in which temperatures exceeded 40ºC in much of the country. But thermometers should remain close to 40ºC in some areas and rise again from Wednesday, especially in Madrid and Andalusia, where a maximum of 44ºC could be reached again in Seville this weekend.
For its part, the United Kingdom was heading to exceed 40ºC for the first time in its history , after having registered a maximum of 38.7ºC in Cambridge on July 25, 2019. Already on Monday the temperature rose in the east of England to 38.1 ° C, the highest this year and the third highest in the history of the country, which that day experienced the hottest night on record , according to the weather service. In some places the mercury did not drop below 25ºC.
Britain’s health and safety agency has issued its first red alert, warning that the heat is a risk even for young people and those in good health.
Johnson accused of not taking it seriously
The government of resigned Boris Johnson was accused of not taking the phenomenon seriously, after the prime minister missed an emergency meeting on the heat wave on Sunday and attended a farewell party instead. Doctors condemned comments by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who called on Britons to “enjoy the sun”.
To protest against the treatment that some conservative media are giving to the heat wave, environmentalists from the group Extinction Rebellion (XR) broke the windows of the offices of News UK, which publishes The Sun and The Times newspapers, on Tuesday.
The heat wave seemed to move to northern Europe on Tuesday, where the Netherlands could register 39°C in the south and center, approaching its national record (40.7 degrees in 2019). In Belgium, major museums were to offer free admission on Tuesday to those over 65 so they can escape the heat.
After the numerous heat records recorded the day before in France -42°C in Nantes (center-west) or 42.6°C in Biscarosse (southwest)-, temperatures should drop slightly on the Atlantic coast and move east.
The country continues to face two major fires in the Bordeaux region , which have already destroyed 19,000 hectares of forest and caused the evacuation of 16,000 people. More than 1,400 firefighters continued to fight the fires in central and northern Portugal, despite the sharp drop in temperatures recorded in recent days. The two most worrying fires occurred in the Vila Real region, in the extreme north of the country.
One of them caused the evacuation of 300 people on Monday night, according to local authorities. A couple in their 70s died in the area after driving off the road while trying to escape the flames in their car. The Portuguese authorities expect temperatures to rise again from Wednesday. In Spain, according to the president of the government of Pedro Sánchez, the fire has devastated 70,000 hectares since the beginning of the year, “almost double the average of the last decade.”
“Climate change kills, it kills people it also kills our ecosystem, our biodiversity,” said Sánchez.
About half of the territory of the European Union is currently at risk of drought, due to the prolonged lack of rain . This puts countries such as France, Romania, Spain, Portugal and Italy at risk of seeing their agricultural yields reduced , the European Commission warned.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.