Mercury is still at its highest on the planet

Extreme heatwave conditions continued on Wednesday in many areas of Europe, Asia and North America, where scorching temperatures have fueled wildfires in recent days.

From California to China, officials have warned about the health hazards of this temperature and urged people to drink water and avoid the sun.

Also in Europe, the “extreme danger” induced by these temperatures has put many regions on red alert while firefighters battle a blaze that has ravaged 3,500 hectares of land in the Canary Islands.

“You can’t be in the streets, it’s terrible, terrible, terrible,” lamented Lidia Rodriguez, 29, in Madrid. “Since I’m from Seville, I’m used to the heat, but we’re suffocating there,” a tourist on holiday told AFP.

According to the Spanish Meteorological Agency (Emet), the temperature on Tuesday reached 45.3 degrees Celsius in Figueres, Catalonia (northeast) and 43.7 degrees Celsius in the Balearic Islands.

Temperature records were broken around the world on Tuesday and more heat is expected on Wednesday.

Forecasters said Beijing broke a 23-year-old record for temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius for 27 consecutive days.

A thermometer shows a temperature of 118°F or 47.7°C in Phoenix, Arizona, on July 18, 2023 (AFP – Patrick T. Fallon)

Phoenix, the capital of Arizona in the southern United States, broke a similar record of 49 years for the 19th consecutive day with a temperature above or equal to 43.3 degrees Celsius, meteorological officials said.

In the south of France, records were broken mainly in the Alps (east), the Pyrenees (west) and the island of Corsica, according to the meteorological services announcement. These are 8°C to 11.9°C above the record season’s normal.

– “Struggle Plans” –

The United Nations has called on the world to prepare for “more intense heat waves”, and urged everyone to draw up their own “control plans” to cope with these extreme day and night temperatures.

After Cerberus, it is the heat wave Charon, named after the smuggler of the underworld, that covers the northern Mediterranean coast.

According to firefighters, there have been at least 47 fires in Greece in the past 24 hours. Two of them, west of Athens, were still not under control by the end of the day on Tuesday.

And a new heat wave is expected to hit Greece from Thursday with maximum temperature of 44 degrees Celsius.

20 cities in Italy have been put on red alert.

In Rome, the mercury reached 40 °C, just below the August 2007 local record of 40.5 °C. That hasn’t stopped tourists from flocking to the Eternal City, where 2,500 fountains of drinking and fresh water allow them to quench their thirst.

On Tuesday afternoon, the highest temperature recorded in Italy, which holds the heat record for continental Europe, was 48.8 °C measured in Sicily on August 11, 2021, followed by 44 °C in Ragusa in the same region.

Antoinette Douce, a 42-year-old French accountant, preferred to leave the Italian capital for the seaside. “Instead of visiting the interiors of Rome, we said to ourselves + we’ll come and have the air and enjoy the sea +”, he told AFPTV at the beach of Frezine, an hour’s drive away.

The authorities had to take special precautionary measures to save the young and the old from the furnace.

“We don’t let the children play and we alternate three days in the sea, three days in the woods,” Morgana Cucca, manager of a center in Lanusei, Sardinia, told AFP.

– “The climate has changed”

In the United States, weather services have observed an “oppressive” heat wave in the South.

A firefighter monitors fires against the Rabbit fire in Moreno Valley, California, on July 15, 2023 (AFP - David Swanson)
A firefighter monitors fires against the Rabbit fire in Moreno Valley, California, on July 15, 2023 (AFP – David Swanson)

Several major fires in California have resulted in the evacuation of populations. The largest, the Rabbit Fire, burned about 3,200 hectares of land.

In Canada, more than ten million hectares of land have already been covered in smoke this year, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center (CIFFC), with 882 fires still burning on Monday, of which 579 are considered out of control.

Two firefighters died fighting the massive blaze.

Pedestrians on a street in Tokyo during a heat wave in Japan, July 18, 2023 (AFP - Kazuhiro Nogi)
Pedestrians on a street in Tokyo during a heat wave in Japan, July 18, 2023 (AFP – Kazuhiro Nogi)

Japan has issued a heat stroke alert for 32 of its 47 prefectures, with temperatures approaching an all-time high of 41.1 degrees Celsius in 2018.

“The climate has changed markedly. Previously, temperatures (in Yamanashi Prefecture near Tokyo) never reached 30 degrees. Now, they are easily reached”, laments 50-year-old Tomoya Abe, who was returning from his apartment in the capital after staying at a campsite “where temperatures can rise to 37 degrees Celsius”.

Add a Comment