Large swaths of Europe experienced an early-season heatwave over the weekend, with temperatures more than 40 to 43 °C (104 – 110 °F) and numerous daily, monthly and all-time records broken. As those records were falling, a sharp temperature contrast first observed in the UK and NW Germany, fueled severe thunderstorms which are forecast to impact an area from France to Serbia on June 20 and 21.
“Heat has been building in south-west Europe and north-west Africa for a while,” said meteorologist Scott Duncan. “The cut-off low pressure spinning near Portugal acts like an engine to lift heat north. The strong jet racing across the Atlantic is also important for intensifying high pressure on the continent.”
Spain was the first to suffer from what was described as the hottest heat wave so early in the year.
The temperature at Andujar reached 44.2 °C (111.5 °F) on June 17 while an airport in San Sebastian recorded 43.5 °C (110.3 °F) on June 18. On the same day, the Igueldo sation in the city registered 39.7 °C (103.4 °F), marking its all-time hottest day.
The worst affected over the weekend was France, especially its southwestern parts, with 203 monthly and 18 all-time records broken or tied. The countrywide average temperature rose to 27.4 °C (81.3 °F), forcing the cancelation of numerous public events.
Biarritz, located near the border with Spain, recorded 42.9 °C (109.2 °F) on June 19, breaking the previous all-time record by more than 2 °C (3.6 °F). Its previous June record was 39.2 °C (102.5 °F), set in 2003.
Husinec in the Chech Republic recorded 39 °C (102.2 °F) on the same day, marking the country’s hottest June day in history.
The town of Slubice, in western Poland, recorded 38.3 °C (100.9 °F), tying the national June record set at Radzyn in 2019.
Switzerland also tied its highest June temperature on record when 36.9 °C (98.4 °F) was recorded in Beznau.
Temperatures were also unusually high for the time of the year in Austria, where 36.5 °C (97.7 °F) was recorded in Feldkirch – its highest June temperature on record.
A weather station in the town of Cottbus in northeastern Germany, about 100 km (62 miles) from Berlin, recorded 39.2 °C (102.6 °F) on June 19, breaking the previous all-time record of 38.9 °C (102 °F) set on July 29, 2021. Records there date back to 1888.
Interestingly, the temperature at the same weather station didn’t reach 14 °C (57.2 °F) on June 20.
“As the heatwave was breaking numerous daily and monthly temperature records, northern Germany was struggling to reach 13 °C (55.4 °F), for example. This incredible contrast is helping fuel some severe thunderstorms right now,” said meteorologist Scott Duncan on June 19.
As a result, Orange weather alerts are in effect for most of central France and far SE Germany where severe thunderstorms are expected. Such storms may cause significant damage and sudden flooding of basements and low lying areas.
Yellow weather alerts are in effect for areas from northern Italy to Serbia. Be ready for severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and high possibility of damaging hail.
Featured image credit: TropicalTidbits, GFS
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