France suffocates and braces for heat wave sweeping Spain and Portugal

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Less than a month after the previous heat wave, mercury levels began to rise in France on Monday, with the country bracing for a heat wave this week that will also scorch Spain and Portugal, where the temperature exceeded 42 degrees Celsius in some areas.

The south of France could experience possible highs of 39 degrees Celsius on Tuesday as global warming causes increasingly hot summers.

The intensity and duration of the heat wave are still difficult to predict, according to experts from France’s national weather service, Météo France, but on Monday the mercury rose above 30 degrees Celsius in much of France. Southwestern France and the Rhone Valley region are expected to see temperatures cross 36 and 38 degrees Celsius from Tuesday.

The first orange heat wave alerts could be launched on Wednesday for certain areas in coordination with the health authorities, according to the French authorities.

Temperatures could reach 39C in parts of France on Tuesday, and the heatwave is expected to peak between Saturday and next Tuesday, according to Météo-France.

The last heat wave was caused by “an anticyclonic axis between Morocco, France and the British Isles”, which brings up very hot air from the south of the Mediterranean, indicated Matthieu Chevallier of Météo-France, during a special press briefing on Monday. .

Potentially “exceptional” heat wave in Spain

In Spain, people baked with the temperature in the central town of Candeleda hitting a sweltering 43.3 degrees Celsius shortly after 6 p.m. local time, according to Spanish weather agency AEMET.

The mercury meanwhile reached 42.4 degrees Celsius in the southern city of Seville.

The southwestern cities of Badajoz and Merida also experienced temperatures of 42 degrees.

AEMET has predicted 46 degrees in Badajoz on Thursday and Friday and Seville is expected to suffocate to 45 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday.

“This heatwave really has the potential to be exceptional,” said AEMET spokesman Ruben del Campo.

Temperatures set to rise in Portugal

In neighboring Portugal, temperatures rose above 44 degrees over the weekend, fueling wildfires and vast clouds of smoke visible in the capital Lisbon.

Firefighters brought the largest blaze under control on Monday after it scorched swathes of the central municipality of Ourem, local officials said.

While temperatures calmed down somewhat in Portugal on Monday, they are expected to soar again in the coming days with 44 degrees forecast for the city of Evora in the southeast of the country.

“In the next few days we will experience conditions of maximum risk,” Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.

“The slightest lack of vigilance could result in a fire of major proportions.”

Heat waves have become more frequent due to climate change, scientists say. As global temperatures increase over time, heat waves are expected to become more intense.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)


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