Record-Breaking Heat Broils Britain As Wildfires Rage Across Europe

A day after Britain recorded its hottest temperature on record, rail travel remained tricky as wildfires raged across drought-stricken Europe.

According to Spain’s Carlos III Institute of Health, 678 people died in the country from July 10 to July 17 due to high temperatures. That figure is 60-year-old Jose Antonio Gonzalez, a street sweeper in Madrid who died of heat stroke on the job after reaching a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday.

Three days later, another Madrid street sweeper was hospitalized with heat stroke, a sign that climate change is taking its toll on the most vulnerable sections of society.

“It’s clear that social inequality plays a role,” Julio Díaz told Spanish public broadcaster RTVA about how people suffer during heatwaves.

“Resistance to the heat wave of a swimming pool in an air-conditioned house is not the same as five people in a room with a window as the only source of fresh air,” he said.

The heat wave in Portugal has killed at least 1,063 people, the country’s health chief Graca Freitas told Reuters. The temperature there last week was recorded at 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Firefighters and police rescue an elderly woman from her home Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in Penteli, Greece.  (AP Photo/Thanasis Stavrakis)
Firefighters and police rescue an elderly woman from her home Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in Penteli, Greece. (AP Photo/Thanasis Stavrakis)

It was just a hair shy of Britain’s record high of 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday, breaking the previous record of 101.7 in 2019.

The UK Met Office has warned Britons that extreme heat is coming with greater frequency in the future. While extreme temperatures are likely due to natural climate change, the increase in frequency, duration and intensity of heatwaves in recent decades is “clearly linked to global warming and likely due to human activity,” he said.

That heat forced London’s Luton Airport to temporarily close the airport after extreme heat.It caused a small part to riseHe said. Military flights from the country’s largest airport, Brize Norton, were also grounded on Monday because “the runway has melted,” a military source told Sky News.

As colder air moved into the country on Wednesday, train travel was suspended due to heat and fire damage. London’s fire brigade received more than 2,600 calls on Tuesday alone, the busiest day since World War II, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said. The department typically handles about 350 calls a day.

Wildfires continue to rage across Europe, with fires raging in England, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece.

In Athens, about 500 firefighters worked Wednesday to contain a large wildfire in a mountainous area northeast of the city, threatened by 50 mph winds and weeks of hot, dry conditions.

While conditions are improving in Western Europe, others in the East are yet to escape: Temperatures in Belgrade, Serbia, are expected to hit 108 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday.

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