Thursday, 27 June 2019

Animals are killed in 'out of control' wild fires as blazes break out in Spain, Greece and Germany during Saharan Bubble heatwave roasting Europe with temperatures set to top 113F

Farm animals have been killed in an 'out of control' wildfire in Spain while blazes have also broken out in Greece and Germany as Europe suffers through a Saharan Bubble heatwave.
Soldiers have been called in to help tackle the raging forest fire in Catalonia which is devouring land across Torre del Espanol as Spain roasts in 109F (43) heat. 
But officials admit the fire - fanned by strong winds and soaring temperatures - is 'getting bigger' and warned it could eventually destroy 20,000 hectares in what presented an 'extreme risk.'
Dozens have already been evacuated, water-dropping aircraft are helping emergency crews on the ground and distressing images show farm animals lying dead after being caught up in the blaze. The region's interior minister Miquel Buch said the fire may have been caused by 'an accumulation of manure in a farm that generated enough heat to explode and generate sparks.'
Sweltering Europe is in the grip of an 'unprecedented' heatwave caused by a bank of hot air pushing up from Africa with temperatures set to top 113F on Friday. On Wednesday Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic recorded their highest-ever June temperatures. 
Firefighters in Greece are battling to contain a blaze near an arms factory just 30 miles from Athens with the fire already having forced the evacuation of a small refugee camp. Wildfires are common during Greece's hot, arid summers and last year, 101 people died after a blaze swept through a seaside resort east of the capital.
In Italy, a homeless man was found dead after falling ill due to the heatwave while three have been killed this week in the south of France from suspected cold shock after jumping into the sea. Parts of France have been put on drought alert and the most polluting cars have been banned from its major cities. 
Meanwhile, thousands of music lovers have arrived at Glastonbury in Britain this morning ahead of what could be the 'hottest ever' weekend for the festival, with temperatures of 91F expected to shine down on revellers. 
In France, authorities extended restrictions on vehicles, already imposed in Paris and Lyon, to Marseille and Strasbourg in an effort to curb air pollution.
Some schools postponed summer examinations and parts of northern France were put on drought alert, with water supplies to businesses, farmers and ordinary residents restricted. Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume announced a ban on the transportation of animals until the heatwave has ended.
The Midi Libre newspaper reported that three people have died on beaches in the south of France so far this week because of the heat, though Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said on Thursday it was too early to give an accurate estimate of the death toll.
'Calls to the emergency services are on the rise nationwide. We are seeing the beginning of a clear impact of the heatwave,' said Jerome Saloman, head of national public health. 'For us the worst is still to come.'
Earlier this week, three people died from suspected cold shock after diving into the sea from a hot beach in southern France.
A 70-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday at Marseillan Plage, near Montpellier - the day the heatwave began - before a 62-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man died on Tuesday in the same region.
Temperatures in central France are expected to rise to 113F (45C) by Friday, which would break the all-time record set in 2003 at 111F (44.1C).   
Dozens of schools have already shut across the country due to insufficient air conditioning while in Paris more than a million of the most polluting vehicles were yesterday been banned from the capital for the day, with the city especially prone to smog in heatwaves. 
However, French winemakers said the hot weather was more than welcome as it could produce a superior vintage. 
There was at least relief for northern Germany on Thursday as temperatures slid to more normal levels for June. 
Meanwhile, in parts of north-east Spain, exceptionally hot air could result in temperatures of 113 F (45C) - close to its high of 117.1F (47.3C), recorded at Montoro, Cordoba province, in 2017. 
The Aemet meteorological agency in Spain said on Wednesday there was a 'significant risk' in five northern provinces with temperatures of 107F (42C) expected. 'Hell is coming,' one Spanish TV weather presenter tweeted. 
The worst is expected on Friday, when 33 of the 50 Spanish provinces face extreme temperatures, which could reach 111F (44C) in Girona.
In Berlin, authorities raised alerts yesterday as the record-breaking June weather threatened to intensify. 
The 70-year-old record for the highest temperature recorded for June was beaten in Germany as 101.5F (38.6C) was recorded in Brandenburg, the German Weather Service (DWD) confirmed Wednesday. 
The choking heat has prompted traffic restrictions, sparked forest fires and fanned debate over public nudity as sweltering Germans stripped off.
In Greece, where around 100 lives were lost in last year's deadly fires at the coastal resort of Mati, hospitals and officials were on red alert with temperatures of around 113F (45C) nationwide.
Meteorologists blamed a blast of hot air from northern Africa for the heatwave so early in the European summer. 

Scientists warn that global warming linked to human fossil fuel use could make such scorchers more frequent.
'Global temperatures are increasing due to climate change,' said Len Shaffrey, professor of climate science at the University of Reading.
'The global rise in temperatures means the probability that an extreme heatwave will occur is also increasing.'
In France, temperatures 'unprecedented' since 1947 - when detailed surveys started - were expected to reach 102F (39C) over two-thirds of the country, said weather service Meteo-France.

... but it's good news for French wine producers

Wine producers in France have taken cheer from the heatwave.
'Two of three days of heatwave in Bordeaux at this time, it's magic!' Philippe Bardet, head of the Bordeaux Wine Council, told AFP.
Temperatures above 104F (40C) would help burn off any of the mildew caused by residual damp, which is 'very, very good for quality', Bardet said.

Rally, Sebastien Chenu, accused the government of 'blowing a lot of hot air'. He said the country had already learned the lessons of the devastating 2003 heatwave.
In Berlin, a blaze 90 kilometres (55 miles) southwest of Berlin, which started Monday and ravaged around 100 hectares (250 acres), was finally brought under control on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, police in Brandenburg cautioned a naked man for driving his moped wearing only his helmet and sandals.
And in Munich, security guards ordered a group of women sunbathing topless on the banks of the river Isar to cover up.

The move backfired, according to the Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which quoted another sunbather as saying that she and others took their tops off 'out of solidarity'.
It said an urgent motion was introduced in a city council meeting Wednesday to allow topless bathing.
In Austria's Innsbruck, the world-famous carriage horses were given time off as the city recorded 98F (36.7C) late Tuesday, breaking the 2012 record for Tyrol state.
Scores of people have drowned in Poland and Lithuania as they tried to cool off in lakes and rivers, authorities said.
The Polish weather institute IMGW said the country's highest ever June temperature was recorded on Wednesday in the southwest: 107F (38.2C).
The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute also recorded the country's highest June temperature: 102F (38.9C) in the northern town of Doksany.
In Belgium, vastly different temperatures were expected with 66F (19C) on the north coast and 91F (33C) in the south, according to broadcaster RTBF. 

What is cold shock?

Cold shock, otherwise known as hydrocution, occurs when the human body is subjected to a sudden decrease in temperature.
It typically occurs when someone falls through ice into very cold water, but can be triggered when a body goes from a very hot place - like a beach - to cold water such as the sea.
Hydrocution causes blood vessels to quickly constrict, placing strain on the heart.
While this is not typically fatal, it can cause lethal cardiac arrests in people with heart conditions.
Medics advise entering water slowly during heatwaves to avoid it. 

June records are set to be broken this week in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.  
In Britain, yesterday's temperatures of around 80F (27C) are expected to climb further at the weekend when highs of 93.2F (34C) are possible. 
In Trier, Germany, it reached 99F (37C) on Tuesday, with slightly cooler temperatures of 95F (35C) expected in Berlin today. Overnight temperatures peaked at 79F (26C), bringing no respite from the heat. 
Further north, in the state of Hesse, 38 swimmers, many of them children, who flocked to a swimming pool amid soaring temperatures suffered injuries due to an increased chlorine concentration in the water. 
Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, tweeted: 'At our Potsdam station, operating since 1983, we're set to break the past June record by about 2C.'  
And in the south of the country, some female sunbathers who went topless at Munich's Isar river touched off a row as five fully-clad security men walked over to tell them to put their bikini tops back on, Sueddeutsche daily reported.
Several other sunbathers nearby stood up for the women at the weekend, with one telling the newspaper: 'We took off our bikinis out of solidarity.' 
The south of France, where the three people died, has been among the regions worst affected by the European heatwave, with temperatures topping 92F (33C) on Tuesday. 
The highest reliable June temperature previously recorded in France was 106.7F (41.5C) on June 21, 2003.
The country's highest ever temperature, recorded in southern France on August 12 in the same year was 111.38F (44.1C). 
Guillaume Woznica, a French forecaster, said Meteo France was predicting temperatures as high as 113F (45C) on Friday. He added: 'The latest forecasts leave little room for doubt: we are heading for a new national record.' 
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe cited the heat wave as evidence of climate destabilization and vowed to step up the government's fight against climate change. 
In Paris, vehicles carrying 'Crit'Air 3' stickers will be barred from roads. More than a million cars are registered in that category under the sticker scheme, which assigning vehicles with ratings from one to five based on how polluting they are. Level five vehicles have already been banned. 

In Poland, the interior ministry said 90 people have drowned this month while seeking to cool off in lakes or rivers.
Likewise in Lithuania, 27 people were reported to have drowned so far as temperatures in the Baltic state soared.
Meanwhile, about half of Spain's provinces are on alert for high temperatures, which are expected to rise as the weekend approaches.
The northeastern city of Zaragoza was forecast to be the hottest on Wednesday at 102F (39C), building to 111F (44C) on Saturday, according to the government weather agency AEMET.
In southwestern Europe, however, some people had other reasons to complain during their summer vacation: the Portuguese capital Lisbon, on Europe's Atlantic coast, awoke cloudy and wet Wednesday.
School exams due to take place later in the week in France have been cancelled to keep students safe, while officials at the women's World Cup - which is taking place in France - are considering letting players take water breaks during games to keep cool. 

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