Spain already exceeded the 40 degree mark in May, now it's even hotter in some places. Large areas of forest have already been burned. A similar fate threatens France, where initially enormous heat and then severe thunderstorms are expected by the end of the week.
France is facing a heat wave with temperatures of up to 40 degrees locally. Storms could then occur in parts of the country over the weekend, according to the weather service Météo France. The highest temperatures are expected between Thursday and Saturday, when it will be above 20 degrees even at night. Temperatures of 38 degrees are expected in Paris on Saturday. The authorities called on the population to protect themselves and drink a lot. In the S-Bahn stations in Paris there were announcements to take enough water with you and to look after your fellow passengers.
Forest fires broke out again in southern France as the drought persisted. As the prefecture of the Lozère department announced, 120 firefighters continued to fight a fire that broke out the day before in the Mas-Saint-Chély area, and a country road was closed. 70 hectares of forest were destroyed by the flames. Although the firefighters brought the fire under control in the meantime, there was a high risk of it breaking out again. As the broadcaster BFMTV reported, several firefighting aircraft were used. The fire brigade was able to protect five houses in a village threatened by the flames.
Ironically, during the heat wave, many residents of Paris have to deal with a garbage collectors' strike. In ten arrondissements, the bins have remained unemptied since Monday and many hundreds of tons of waste have piled up on the sidewalks. The city said it is working on a solution. The garbage drivers are demanding an adjustment to their wages because of the high inflation.
In Spain they are already a little further. The heat wave in Spain, which has been going on since the weekend and which occurred unusually early in the year, has now also affected areas in the center and north-east of the country. For the metropolis of Madrid, the national weather service Aemet warned of 39 to 40 degrees, in Zaragoza it could even be 45 degrees on Saturday. 36 degrees were forecast for the popular holiday island of Mallorca.
At the same time, temperatures in the south, which had been hit hardest so far, only fell slightly. 39 degrees were expected in Seville and 41 degrees in Cordoba. In the past few days, temperatures in Andalusia had even risen to 43 degrees. Authorities advised people to drink plenty of water, eat only light meals, stay out of the sun for long periods of time, avoid physical exertion and seek medical advice at the first sign of heat stroke.
The heat wave could subside over the weekend, but that is not certain, emphasized Aemet. Combined with severe drought, the heat also increases the risk of forest and bush fires. More than 19,000 hectares of forest have been burned since the beginning of the year. That is about twice as much as the average for the same period from 2006 to 2021, reported the state TV broadcaster RTVE, citing data from the European earth observation system Copernicus.
According to a report in the newspaper "El País", heat waves are increasing in Spain. They start earlier in the year, are longer, the temperatures are higher and are affecting more and more parts of the country at the same time. The south of Spain was already suffering from a premature heat wave with up to 41 degrees in May. "Summer eats up spring," the newspaper headlined at the time. The absolute record was measured last August in Montoro in Andalusia: 47.4 degrees. Experts attribute this to man-made climate change.