Western Europe withers at the start of the summer heat wave, exacerbating climate change fears

  • The temperature of the Spaniards rises as temperatures rise above 40 ° C
  • Outdoor events halted in part of France, drought hit Italy
  • Even hats are allowed at this prestigious British horse racing event

MADRID/PARIS (Reuters) – Spain on Friday headed for its hottest early summer temperatures in four decades, a region of France banned outdoor events, and drought haunted Italian farmers as a heatwave prompted Europeans to seek shade and worry about climate change. .

The heat was so intense that England’s upscale Royal Ascot Racecourse saw a rare change of protocol: Guests were allowed to throw on hats and jackets once royals died.

“Avoid excessive exposure to the sun, moisturize and take care of the most vulnerable so that they do not suffer from heat stroke,” was the advice of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Madrid during a fitting event on desertification.

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The national weather agency AEMET said temperatures would reach 40 to 42 degrees Celsius (104 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit) in Madrid and Zaragoza in central and eastern Spain, respectively. These are levels we haven’t seen early in the year since 1981.

A farm lobby said regions of northern Italy risk losing up to half of their agricultural production due to drought, as lakes and rivers begin to deteriorate dangerously, putting irrigation at risk. Read more

The Italian utility consortium, Utilitalia, warned this week that the country’s longest river, the Po, was experiencing its worst drought in 70 years, causing many of the vast northern waterways to completely dry up.

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The heat wave has added pressure on energy systems as demand for air conditioning threatens to drive prices higher, adding to the challenge of building up stocks to protect against any further cuts to Russian gas supplies. Read more

‘Health risks’

In France, a local official said the Gironde province around Bordeaux has banned public events including concerts and those held indoors without air conditioning. Read more

“Everyone now faces health risks,” Gironde Governor Fabien Buccio told France Bleu radio.

Temperatures in many French regions reached 40 degrees Celsius for the first time this year on Thursday and are expected to peak on Saturday to rise to 41-42 degrees Celsius, and a record June night temperature was set at 26.8 degrees Celsius in Tarascon, southern France.

14 administrative departments were put on high alert, and schoolchildren were asked to stay indoors in these areas. Speed ​​limits have been lowered in several regions, including around Paris, to reduce exhaust emissions and the buildup of harmful smog.

The British Met Office said Friday was the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures exceeding 32 degrees Celsius in some parts of the southeast.

Parks, pools, and beaches were packed, and while many enjoyed a day of fun and freedom after two years of periodic pandemic restrictions, some were worried, too.

“I’m from Cyprus and now in Cyprus it’s raining…and I’m boiling here, so something has to change. We need to take precautions about climate change sooner rather than later because it undoubtedly worries us all,” he said. Student Charlie Oxel visits Brighton, south London.

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“Now we enjoy it, but in the long run we may sacrifice.”

Mediterranean countries are more and more interested in how climate change will affect their economies and lives.

“The Iberian Peninsula is an increasingly dry region, our rivers are flowing slower and slower,” Spanish leader Sanchez added.

Firefighters are battling wildfires in several parts of Spain, with Catalonia in eastern Spain and Zamora near the western border with Portugal worst affected.

In Zamora, between 8,500 and 9,500 hectares were reduced to ash.

A cloud of hot air was avoiding Portugal on Friday, as temperatures were not as high as in other European countries, and Lisbon was likely to reach 27 degrees Celsius.

The Portuguese meteorological agency IPMA said last month was the hottest in 92 years. And she warned that most of the lands are suffering from severe drought.

Water levels in reservoirs in Portugal are dropping, and the Bravora Dam is only 15% filled.

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(Additional reporting by Emma Pinedo, Christina Thikiar and Inti Landoro in Madrid; Farouk Suleiman in London; Tassilo Hamel in Paris; Satanic Catarina in Lisbon; Angelo Amanti in Rome; Written by Andrew Cawthorne and Alison Williams; Editing by Toby Chopra and Andrew Heavens

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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