The early heat wave hitting southern Europe For several days it has spread and amplified this Saturday throughout France, where temperature records are expected, while in Spain firefighters continue to fight several fires and northern Italy suffers from a harsh drought.
Almost all of French territory will be affected, with several departments in the south-west of the country in red vigilance, the highest level, and temperatures that could locally reach 42°C, according to Météo-France.
On Friday, heat records for the month of June were broken in France in at least 11 municipalities, including Carcassonne (south), where 40.4 ° C were recorded.
The multiplication of heat waves in Europe is a direct consequence of global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions increase the power, duration and repetition of heat waves, according to scientists.
Several festive, sporting and cultural events were canceled in the French departments under red surveillance and primary and secondary school students were released on Friday from the obligation to go to educational centers.
In France, special measures have been taken in nursing homes, still marked by the deadly heat wave of 2003, which left more than 15,000 dead.
In several departments in central France, the risk of fires has been described as “very high”, and the number of fires on farmland has skyrocketed.
In some tomato greenhouses in the southwest of the country, temperatures of up to 55º C have been reached
– Evacuations in Spain –
In Spain this Saturday the fires continued, especially that of the Sierra de Culebra, in the region of Castilla-Leon (center-west), where nearly 11,000 hectares burned on Friday.
According to regional authorities, “the fire at this time is less virulent and the height of the flames has decreased in some areas.”
More than 200 inhabitants of this mountainous area near the border with Portugal had to be evacuated on Friday due to the advance of the flames.
Spain has been suffering from an exceptional heat wave for almost a week. More than 3,000 people were evacuated from the Puy du Fou Spain amusement park, in the center of the country, due to a violent fire near the site.
In the northeast of Spain, hundreds of firefighters were fighting against several fires declared in Catalonia, on the “most complicated day of this episode in terms of weather,” according to them.
A fire declared near Baldomar, in the Catalan province of Lérida, destroyed 1,000 hectares of forest, according to the authorities. In the neighboring region of Aragón, at least 1,200 hectares were burned in the municipality of Nonaspe.
– Drought in Italy –
In northern Italy, Lombardy is preparing to declare a state of emergency due to a record drought that threatens crops, and where water is already rationed in several towns in the region. This is the worst drought in 70 years.
In Germany, the heat wave began to arrive from Friday, and this Saturday temperatures could rise to 40ºc
For the third day in a row, the UK recorded its hottest day of the year on Friday, with temperatures topping 30C in the early afternoon.
Global warming causes droughts and accelerates desertification in many regions of the planet, the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Ibrahim Thiaw, declared on Friday at the conference in Madrid.
The UN called on Friday to “act now” against drought and desertification, to avoid “human disasters.”