Weather tracker: record-breaking heat continues to scorch western Europe

UK temperatures exceed 40C while France and Portugal hit new highs, with some extreme consequences

Record-breaking heat continued to affect parts of western Europe during the past week, with UK temperatures exceeding 40C (104F) for the first time since records began.

On Tuesday, several weather stations across London, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire broke the 40C barrier, with a top temperature of 40.3C in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. A further 39 stations across central and southern England also broke the previous highest temperature of 38.7C, which was set in July 2019.

The central England temperature (CET), which is a daily temperature record dataset dating back to 1772, recorded the highest ever daily average temperature of 28.1C, an incredible 2.8C above the previous record.

Temperature records tumbled in many other countries in Europe, with 64 different areas in France experiencing record highs and temperatures in Portugal reaching 47C on Thursday, a July record.

The dangerously high temperatures have had extreme consequences, with Portugal reporting more than 1,000 heatwave-related deaths since last week. At least 13 people have died in open water-related incidents in the UK since Monday.

Wildfires have been raging across parts of Europe and northern Africa, with 37,000 people evacuated from their homes in France as a result of the biggest fires in 30 years. More than 20,000 hectares (49,500 acres) of land was engulfed in the Gironde region alone. Strong winds in northern Morocco have exacerbated wildfires, with firefighters still battling the flames.

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There have been multiple fires across England and Wales, with the London fire brigade declaring a major incident. The number of calls to the service increased fourfold early this week, with Tuesday the busiest day in the capital since the second world war.

Meanwhile, southern and eastern parts of China have been struggling to cope with torrential downpours and exceptionally hot conditions. In Guanyun county, Jiangsu province, a tornado ripped through 11 villages on Wednesday, killing one and injuring 25 others. Alongside torrential rains have been scorching temperatures, with more than 900 million people feeling the effects of heat above 40C. This has coincided with a surge in Covid cases, and with the government making mass testing mandatory, it has resulted in dangerous conditions for those waiting to administer and receive tests. At least 24 people were taken to hospital with heatstroke.

Alice Fowle for MetDesk

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