Europe Stays Tough Despite Scorching Heatwaves
Europe has names for the intense heatwaves the continent is experiencing right now – Cerberus and Charon. Whatever you call it, they have one thing in common, bringing extreme temperatures. These severe conditions can devastate the environment, lives, and economy.
Droughts and Wildfires Continue to Devastate Throughout Europe
June is the hottest month ever documented in the 174-year history of temperature monitoring in Europe. In 2022, heatwaves involved more than 61,600 heat-related death throughout 35 European nations. Moreover, it contributed to catastrophic wildfires, affecting forests, farmlands, and residences. This year, swelters could go beyond Europe’s current record of 48.8°, recorded in Sicily in August 2021.
Near the coastal town of Sibenik in Croatia, a bushfire spread rapidly on July 13, driven by strong southerly winds. The inferno went beyond control, despite the combined efforts of 56 firefighters, 20 vehicles, and three aircraft. Grebastica also endured consequential damages, including destroyed cars and homes.
In France, roughly six minor wildfires were recorded on Corsica Island, Occitanie, Bouches-Du-Rhone, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, and Grand Est. According to the French geological service BRGM, Mid-April has shallow groundwater levels, leaving France with a worse summer drought, specifically in the southern part.
On Tuesday, speeding wildfires scraped the hills with their blazing fervour outside the Greek capital. The incident forced authorities to close highways to protect an oil refinery. Sections of two highways, linking Athens to Corinth’s western city are unpassable. This will provide fighters with better access to the holocaust.
The Italian health ministry issued red weather alerts on July 18 for 20 of the region’s 27 major cities. Officials expect the number to climb to 23 by July 19. The airforce’s weather service sees temperatures going over 47°C.
Firefighters in Spain had a hard time controlling a wildfire on the island of La Palma. The firestorm kindled on July 15, forcing 4,000 people to evacuate at the very least. The country continues to experience an extended period of drought, which started from January to April of this year as the driest on record.
In Switzerland, disseminated evacuation orders on July 17 for many mountain villages. People need to vacate the area immediately due to a fire that spread rapidly on the forested mountain flank in Bitsch near the Italian border.
On July 16, wildfires started engulfing southeastern Hatay and Mersin provinces in Turkey. Flames and smoke also didn’t spare the Canakkale province in the northwest.
Concern for Rising Health Risks Due to Heatwaves
The World Meteorological Organization stressed that heatwaves are one of the most fatal natural hazards. Europe must endure more extreme temperatures that will develop in frequency, duration, and intensity over time.
“Repeated high night-time temperatures are particularly dangerous for human health because the body is unable to recover from sustained heat. This leads to increased cases of heart attacks and death,” said John Nairn, WMO Senior Heat Advisor.
WMO suggested the urgency to advance infrastructure to counter persistent high temperatures and awareness of the dangers. The agency notified the public of the heightened risk of death throughout Asia, the United States, and North Africa.
Nairn added the scorching condition that Europe is experiencing is only one of the many consequences of climate change. The world is losing the North Pole ice and this will continue in the coming years. Additionally, El Niño will exaggerate and intensify extreme heat conditions.
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