A record breaking heat wave is sweeping across western Europe and is expected to spread through the entire continent by the end of the week.
Warnings to remain indoors have been issued, especially for elderly people and children, as temperatures are rushing well above 40 °C (104°F) in Portugal, Spain and France.
Paris has now activated its national heat wave emergency plans, as thousands of isolated elderly people died in France alone when heat wave struck Europe in 2003. Across the continent, the 2003 European heat wave took nearly 20 000 lives.
The French ecology minister, Segolene Royal called air-conditioned public places, such as libraries, cinemas and shopping malls to let people in, so they can recover from the boiling conditions on the streets. As a part of the emergency plan, French authorities have also set up a heat wave register in towns where isolated elderly people can be checked upon by either a phone call or a home visit.
A high level risk warning has been issued for 26 provinces, including Burgundy and Paris, where the temperatures are expected to jump over 40°C (104°F) this week.
It is recommended that the older people and small children, as well as the people who suffer from breathing difficulties wet their heads and remain wrapped in cold, wet towels, to minimize the risk of suffering a heat stroke. It is advised to avoid alcoholic drinks and to increase the water intake to at least three liters of water per day.
The wave of hot air is now spreading into UK where temperatures are expected to reach above 30°C (86°F) on Tuesday, June 30. Sectators and players at Wimbledon tournament are warned to take precaution measures.
The temperatures in Seville, Spain, already reached 42°C (108°F) and they are expected to hit 44°C (111°F) in the Cordoba countryside. In Spain and Portugal a forest fire warning is also in effect. The risk is especially high in the wooden central and northern Portugal, as the winter and spring of 2015 was unusually dry. About 54% of the Portuguese mainland suffered extreme to severe drought at the end of May. As the month of June was no better in terms of rainfall, the percentage is expected to rise
30 people have been treated for the heatstroke in Madrid, since the heat wave begin on Thursday, June 25. Even at night, the temperatures in many cities hovered above 20°C (68°F).
Two in a row record breaking temperatures were recorded in Madrid. A new June record of 39.7°C (103.5°F) was set on Monday, June 29, breaking the record of 39.1°C (102.3°F) set on the previous day, Sunday, June 28.
A temperature of 40°C was measured on Madrid's Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport, setting a first for June in records dating back to 1945. Nighttime temperature for Madrid is forecasted to hit 26°C (78.8°F), which is also well above the usual seasonal average of 16°C (60.8°F).
Spain's national weather office official said: “These are not usual meteorological phenomena, [they are] of an exceptional intensity and with a very high level of risk for the population."
The heat wave which has traveled from the north of Africa to Europe in the last couple of days is expected to last until the end of the week and spread through the entire continent.
Featured image: Daylight temperatures model for July 1, 2015. Credit: MeteoEarth.