Summer is finally here; holidaymakers flocking to Europe can expect good weather and long days in the sun. However, there is a concerning undertone to the recent heatwave spread across the continent.
The United Kingdom has been issued a red extreme heat warning for the first time as temperatures could hit 40 degrees this upcoming Monday and Tuesday. This level of heat is unprecedented for the UK. The Met Office issued a level three heat health alert which can have health implications for individuals across the country.
As temperatures rise, officials are concerned about more than just vulnerable people, signifying that daily routines need to adjust.
These record heat levels can potentially be dangerous to the population, alongside an increased risk of water-related incidents, with people flocking to the coast to escape the sweltering temperatures.
In the Iberian Peninsula, there has been a breakout of wildfires with specific reference to Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the south of France, where temperatures exceeded 40 degrees.
The south of France has experienced wildfires that have engulfed 800 hectares of pine trees and forced many people to flee their homes. It has been reported that temperatures are 4-5C above the season average, with the heat expected to continue rising throughout the week.
Temperatures have unexpectedly risen across Europe, raising concerns about the possible ramifications.
Individuals are at risk of being displaced from their homes due to wildfires running rampage across the continent, as seen in Portugal. Thirty-five wildfires have caused injury to 29 individuals, with the Portuguese government issuing a ‘state of contingency’.
If we look back in time to previous heatwaves, we can predict the trajectory of the extreme weather being experienced in Europe currently.
The 1976 heatwave was notorious in the UK and holds the ball mark for following heatwaves. People experienced the hottest year in 350 years and the driest summer for 200 years, with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees for five days straight. There was a brief drought and huge demands on water supply leading to a hosepipe ban and water rationing.
Similarly, in Paris in 2003, the heatwave that rocked the summer resulted in 15,000 deaths, according to the Met Office, due to the inhumane heat temperatures.
The Met Office also recorded that in 2003 there was a knock-on effect on agriculture. Many animals died due to the heat alongside failed crops due to the dry weather. Transport was disrupted with the London underground becoming a furnace and roads melting, thus causing heavy disruptions across the country.
It is plausible to suggest that the summer ahead has the potential to follow in similar footsteps to the summers of the past, with heavy disruption and health warnings issued for people's safety.
This summer, people must be aware of the rising weather conditions, and it is urged that individuals know the signs of heatstroke. People should be mindful of vulnerable people in their community to keep everyone safe.
Edited by: Chanelle Jassim
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