Europe is facing a summer heatwave with riverbeds drying up in France and 14 cities on red alert in Italy, while Germany is facing a month-long drought.
Paris is expected to reach temperatures of 40 ° C in the shade after several French cities hit record highs on Thursday ahead of a tough weekend for holiday travel.
A dramatic forest fire in the French Atlantic resort of Anglet destroyed nearly a dozen homes and forced about 100 people to evacuate before it was finally brought under control, as the rivers of eastern France dried up.
Spain is also roasting in the heat wave caused by hot air coming from Africa, just as Madrid tightens the rules for wearing masks to fight a second wave of coronavirus cases.
Large parts of Germany are also under a heat warning this weekend after the country saw only 65 percent of expected rainfall in the month of July.
NETHERLANDS: A crowd of beachgoers enjoy the summer weather on the coast near the Brouwersdam in the Netherlands, where temperatures were expected to reach almost 90F (32C) today
FRANCE: Houses next to the dried up Doubs River in Maisons-du-Bois-Lievremont in eastern France today as numerous French cities saw record temperatures during a summer heatwave
SWITZERLAND: Two children, Mohamed and Hatim, cool off with water jets in the fountain on Place des Nations on a hot summer day in Geneva on Friday
Large parts of Western Europe are suffering from heat wave temperatures caused by hot air from Africa this weekend
According to the Severe Weather Europe website, today is expected to be the hottest day of the year yet in Western Europe, warning of ‘extreme heat’.
The authorities in Paris imposed driving restrictions to limit ozone pollution, as tens of thousands of people were willing to flee to cooler places, according to the national traffic monitoring service.
“The heat wave requires that the state be vigilant and that everyone be careful,” said Prime Minister Jean Castex during a visit to firefighters in Bourg-en-Bresse, southeastern France.
The Anglet fire broke out at the end of Thursday in the Chiberta forest park in southwestern France, where the beaches just north of Biarritz attract surfers from all over the world.
It was the last of several fires that erupted this week in southern and central France, marking the start of the annual fire season that officials say could worsen due to drought and dry heat.
“Ninety percent of these fires are caused by people,” Environment Minister Barbara Pompili told BFM television and asked people to use “common sense.”
Officials also urged families and neighbors to check in with the elderly, and retirement homes are very alert because air conditioners are discouraged from fearing they may promote coronavirus infections.
FRANCE: Firemen work in a building on an ornithological reserve in Izadia, near the Chiberta forest in Anglet, where a wildfire burned nearly 250 hectares of forest early in the day
FRANCE: A dead fish in the River Doubs in eastern France dried up by the heat wave hitting western Europe
FRANCE: A fire in the Chiberta forest in Anglet destroyed nearly a dozen homes and forced about 100 people to evacuate before finally bringing it under control today
FRANCE: A firefighter works in the Chiberta forest in Anglet, where several houses were destroyed by the fires
NETHERLANDS: An aerial view of the summer crowds on the beach at the Brouwersdam in the Netherlands on Friday
NETHERLANDS: Beachgoers enjoy the sun while sunbathing and playing in the sea on a beach in Ouddorp today
ITALY: A woman takes the picture of her friend as a paddle in the water on the beach of Mondello in Palermo, amid the heat wave
An increase in Covid-19 cases prompted French officials to tighten face mask requirements in several cities this week, many of which made them mandatory despite the heat outside.
The Meteo France weather agency said storms could bring relief to central France in late Friday. Nighttime temperatures elsewhere are likely to stay high and drop to just 77F (25C) in cities like Lyon or Grenoble.
Last year, France was the hottest ever, and Meteo France has warned that global warming could double the number of heat waves by 2050.
Meanwhile, there was a heat wave in Spain on Thursday, just as Madrid made mask wear mandatory to prevent a wave of coronavirus infections.
“Your breath is getting very warm – your glasses, there are a lot of problems,” said Ana Gonzalez, a resident of Madrid. “But you put it all aside if you think it’s protection and there’s no choice to wear it.
“You forget the face mask and that’s all. It is the only way. At least that’s what I do. ‘
The Spanish meteorological agency said the hot air came from Africa and would last until Saturday, as the holidays are scaled back in some parts of the country due to the virus pandemic.
In Italy (left), 10 cities (highlighted in red) are at the highest warning level today, while 14 are in the same category for Saturday, while in Germany (right) much of the country is near the French border (in purple)) put on a heat report
SWITZERLAND: A woman cools down today in the Place des Nations fountain in Geneva when the MeteoSwiss weather agency gave a heat wave alarm for parts of the country
ITALY: A man cools down in a fountain during a hot day in Turin, one of the cities placed on the highest alarm level
In Rome, where temperatures reached 38 ° C on Thursday and would reach 39 ° C on Friday, authorities told the elderly and children not to go out in the heat of the day.
The Italian Ministry of Health has put 10 cities on red for Friday and 14 cities on Saturday, including Rome, Turin and Bologna.
The Swiss Weather Agency advised people to drink plenty of water, eat cool dishes, and avoid physical exertion.
In Cyprus, the heat wave hit earlier this week, with temperatures soaring in the 100s Fahrenheit since Monday.
The German weather service has also issued a heat warning for much of the south and west of the country near the French border, where temperatures are expected to reach 95F (35C) over the weekend.
Officials say July saw only 65 percent of expected rainfall in Germany, and some areas in the Southwest saw only 10 liters of rain per square meter compared to the 50 national level.