European heat wave: Cities set unprecedented temperature records

In northwestern Spain, the city of Ourense on Tuesday set its all-time temperature record at 43.2 degrees Celsius (109.76 degrees Fahrenheit), according to Spanish weather agency AEMET.

On Wednesday, Zamora set its own record after hitting 41.1 degrees Celsius (105.98 degrees Fahrenheit), according to climate statistician Max Herrera. Soria set a record high of 38.7 degrees Celsius (101.66 degrees Fahrenheit) on the same day.

The central Portuguese city of Lousã set an all-time high of 46.3 degrees Celsius (115.34 degrees Fahrenheit) and Lisbon set a July record of 41.4 degrees Celsius (106.52 degrees Fahrenheit).

But the worst is yet to come.

Spain and Portugal prepare

Authorities in Spain and Portugal are preparing for the hottest day of the heat wave so far.

Temperatures are expected to reach around 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of western and southern Spain, according to AEMET. In its afternoon update, AEMET warned that Spain is set to experience its hottest day of the heatwave on Thursday.

The same is said of Portugal. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa told reporters that Thursday is expected to be the “most serious day” for Portugal in terms of extreme weather conditions, warning that the country must “be more careful than ever to avoid further occurrences”. .

Eight of the country’s 18 mainland districts have been placed under a red weather alert by the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA).

Given the increased risk, the country’s “state of alarm” should be extended until Sunday, Costa added.

A member of the armed forces walks near a forest fire in Palmela, Portugal, on July 13.  The fire is currently near a gas station.  In order to save their lives, some people and animals are evacuated.

Portugal continues to be one of the countries hardest hit by the current heat wave in Western Europe. There are currently 1,656 firefighters battling the 10 active rural fires across Portugal, the Portuguese civil protection services announced on Thursday.

More than 7,400 acres of forest have been burned in the district of Leiria, central Portugal, according to the municipality of Leiria.

Thousands of people evacuated due to forest fires

France is in a similar situation. Since Tuesday, more than 6,500 people have been evacuated from their homes and campsites as wildfires rage in southwestern parts of the country, regional police said on Thursday.

More than 9,000 hectares have been destroyed by two large forest fires in the Gironde department, according to a press release published by the departmental police.

A forest fire burns through vegetation in Landiras, southwestern France, on July 13.

About 1,000 firefighters from local and national brigades have been mobilized since Tuesday to stop the spread of the fires. Six water bomber aircraft are also used.

Grégory Allione, president of the national federation of firefighters, called on cities across the country to cancel their traditional July 14 fireworks, speaking on the French channel Franceinfo on Thursday.

“What is responsible is to cancel them, what is responsible is to take into account that we are in a period of drought, of heat wave,” Allione said, adding that the fires “are still evolving. , we expect to encounter difficulties today”. given rising temperatures and swirling winds.”

Firefighters work to put out a forest fire that broke out at the foot of the Dune du Pilat near La Teste-de-Buch in southwestern France on July 13.

During a visit to the region on Wednesday, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told reporters that authorities “were on very high alert in the coming days, particularly in the south of France”.

UK is next

The heat peak is now occurring across the Iberian Peninsula and is expected to spread north and east in the coming days.

A “rare” amber extreme heat warning issued by the UK Met Office for Sunday July 17 has been extended until Monday and Tuesday, when temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s.
The UK’s record temperature is 38.7 degrees Celsius (101.7 degrees Fahrenheit), which could be exceeded, according to the Met Office.

“Some models have produced maximum temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of the UK over the coming weekend and beyond,” said Rebekah Sherwin of the Met Office.

“Adverse population-wide health effects are likely to be experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, resulting in potential serious illness or life threatening,” the Met said. Office. “Many more people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers, increasing the risk of water safety incidents.”

The UK could also see road closures due to melting surfaces, as well as delays in rail and air travel amid extreme heat.

CNN’s Brandon Miller contributed reporting.