Home WORLD EUROPA Southwestern Europe beset by intense heat

Southwestern Europe beset by intense heat

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This intense heat wave, very early for the season, is expected to continue at least until Sunday in southwestern Europe, according to Météo-France forecasts.

More than 18 million French people are affected by this heat wave, which causes temperatures to exceed 40 degrees Celsius during the day and fluctuate around 30 degrees at night.

Meteorologists expect many heat records to be broken in this part of Europe over the weekend.

To cope with the intense heat which could last several more days, the authorities have decreed the alert level red vigilance in about forty departments of the country.

This is the earliest heat wave ever recorded in France since 1947underlines Matthieu Sorel, climatologist at Météo-France, in an interview with AFP.

It is clearly, according to him, a climate change marker.

This is the fourth time that the French authorities have had to activate these emergency measures intended to protect the population from the intense heat since the historic heat wave of 2003, which killed nearly 19,000 people in the country.

Forest fires in Spain

Extreme heat continues to plague Europe. In the south-west of France, new temperature records are expected over the next few days. And in Spain, the authorities are trying to control as best they can many forest fires. A story by Gabrielle Proulx.

This spring heat wave also gives Spaniards no respite, struggling with several forest fires due to the drought fueled by exceptional heat levels, which have reached peaks of 43 degrees Celsius in places in recent days in the country.

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The biggest fires are raging in the Sierra de la Culebra, in the northwest of the country, where 5,000 to 7,000 hectares of forest have already gone up in smoke, the Castile and Leon region announced on Friday.

In the northeast, Catalonia also has to fight several fires, the largest of which is raging near Baldomar, in the province of Lérida, where the fire has destroyed more than 940 hectares of forest, according to the Catalan regional government.

This heat wave, which has been battering southwestern Europe for almost a week, is also causing severe droughts in northern Italy, particularly in Lombardy.

Crops under threat in Italy

The regions of northern Italy risk losing up to half of their agricultural production due to drought, amid concerns about the level of lakes and rivers in the country, the Italian Confederation of Farmers (CIA) warned on Friday. ).

The Po, which is the longest river in the country and one of its main sources of fresh water, is currently at its lowest level in 70 years – with areas totally dry – and we are only in June, underlines for its part the federation of Italian public service companies Utilitalia.

B$CA)”,”text”:”Total damage [devrait] already exceed one billion euros (CA$1.37B)”}}”>The total damage [devrait] already exceed one billion euros (CA$1.37 billion)notes the Italian Confederation of Farmers in a press release, explaining that the lack of water threatens the production of corn and soybeans, the supply of which is already partly compromised by the war in Ukraine.

Faced with the possibility of losing half if not all of the harvest, the CIA asks the Italian government to implement a emergency irrigation to save crops and the construction of infrastructure to collect and store rainwater.

The governors of Piedmont and Lombardy, where part of agricultural production depends on the Po, said they would ask the government to declare a state of natural disaster due to the drought.

For scientists, these intense and early heat waves and droughts are direct consequences of global climate change.

: every action counts”,”text”:”Time to act: every action counts”}}”>It’s time to act: every action countswarned Friday the administrative secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Ibrahim Thiaw, during a conference in Madrid on the occasion of the world day to combat drought.

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