(London) Temperatures in the United Kingdom on Tuesday crossed the 40°C mark for the first time in the country as a heat wave hit the rest of Western Europe, sparking devastating forest fires, particularly in France.
Posted at 6:17 am
Updated at 8:56 am
It is the second extreme heat wave in Europe in just one month. This multiplication, according to scientists, is a direct consequence of the climate crisis, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.
The mercury hit an all-time high of 40.2C in the UK at 11:50 GMT (7:50 a.m. EDT) at Heathrow Airport in west London, the Met Office said.
The historic temperature record – which dates back to July 2019 at 38.7 degrees – has already been set at over 39°C in south London.
“Obviously the English are not used to that. It’s hard to be outside, even in the shade it’s suffocating,” said AFP Emily Nixon, 34, who sought refuge in a municipal swimming pool in the British capital on Monday.
After experiencing the hottest day of the year on Monday, Britons endured one of the country’s hottest nights ever recorded, with temperatures not dropping below 25°C in places.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps told the BBC that “no”, public transport in a Victorian-era country could not handle such heat.
“All trains have been canceled due to heat. I don’t understand. They have trains in Australia. What work What is the problem here? “, 62-year-old user Ashley Meeloo from London fumes.
He alleged that the government is taking this incident lightly. Resigned Prime Minister Boris Johnson skipped an emergency meeting on the crisis on Sunday, preferring to attend a farewell party and Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told Britons to “enjoy the sun”.
Environmental activists from the group Extinction Rebellion smashed the windows of News UK, which mainly publishes the tabloid, on Tuesday morning. the sunProtest against heat wave treatment in certain media.
” the sun Women chose to display pictures of happy children in bikinis, beaches and ice cream,” the group decried. Another tabloid, The Daily Express“It’s not the end of the world, keep cool and carry on” on Monday.
Camps were burned
Elsewhere in Europe, the Netherlands, which recorded its hottest day of the year at 35.4°C on Monday, is already facing a temperature of around 33 degrees at around 5:20 am, with a possible 39°C in the afternoon.
Belgium fears records, the thermometer can climb up to 40 ° C. Exceptionally, major museums run by the federal state are free for over 65s.
In France, temperatures will drop Tuesday on the Atlantic coast after a complicated night in the Gironde in the country’s southwest, which will be at the front of two large fires that have already destroyed more than 19,000 hectares of forest.
A total of 37,000 people had to be evacuated to safe places in six days after facing these huge fires.
On Monday, records were broken in several cities: 39.3 ° C in Brest (north-west), 42 ° C in Nantes (central-west) or 42.6 ° C in Biscarros (south-west), according to Meteo France. The absolute record in the country, 46 ° C, was in Vérargues (South) from June 28, 2019.
In Brittany, an area usually less affected by wildfires, about 1,400 hectares of vegetation were up in smoke in Finistère and 500 people were evacuated.
“High risk” in Spain
Forest fires broke out on Tuesday in Spain, especially in the province of Zamora (northwest), where extreme heat has been blowing for nearly ten days. According to regional authorities, the fire, which destroyed several thousand hectares of meadows and forests, forced the evacuation of about 6,000 people.
While the mercury has soared above 40°C in recent days, the National Meteorological Organization has announced a slight reprieve in the temperature.
“Climate change kills people […]But our ecosystem, our biodiversity”, responded the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, on Monday.
In Portugal, more than 1,400 firefighters were still battling the blaze on Tuesday morning.
Two of the most alarming wildfires are in the north of the country. One of them mobilized nearly 700 firefighters on Tuesday.
A 70-year-old couple who tried to escape from the fire died in the area on Monday.
Temperatures are likely to rise further in the country from Wednesday.
The whole of Germany is also experiencing this heat wave, but temperatures in Lower Saxony (northwest) could reach 40°C on Tuesday and therefore reach the 2019 record of 41.2°C, which could be hit on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to meteorologists.