European forecasters warned that ‘hell is coming’ with a record breaking heatwave due to hit the continent tomorrow posing a threat to life.
With days of temperatures climbing to 104F (40C) and above in some cities, forecasters have predicted France may experience the hottest June on record.
The news has struck fear into many who recall the continent’s 2003 heatwave which saw 15,000 people die as temperatures reached a peak of 111F (44.1C) in mid august.
France’s national forecaster Météo-France has called the temperatures a threat to life and warned that the intense heat may not lull until next week – even during the nights.
The heatwave is being caused by a 2,000-mile wide plume of hot air dubbed the ‘Saharan bubble’ which is being blown from Africa by an unusually strong jet stream.
Britain also faces a sweltering week-long heatwave that could see temperatures soar past 86F (30C) following the past two days of widespread downpours and flooding.
Forecasters are predicting sunshine and hot conditions for the next few days in Britain, starting with a muggy high of 80F today before the mercury starts to creep up to 86F by Thursday.
As France continues to host the women’s world cup, officials are now considering whether to introduce water breaks in games to let the athletes cool down.
Northern parts of the country will be worst affected – including Paris and La Havre, Normandy, where matches are being held.
Cooling off: A woman escapes from the heat in a fountain just across the river from the Eiffel Tower in Paris – where temperatures may feel as high as 117F (47C)
A woman adjusts her hair while walking under a cloudless sky next to the Colosseum in Rome, where temperatures could reach as high as 100F (38C) in the coming days
A Europe-wide heatwave established itself Tuesday and looks set to climb as forecasters issue heat warnings across most of the continent for the next week – as fears rise over comparisons to the 2003 heatwave that killed 35,000 people in Europe
A plume of Saharan air could bring record-breaking June temperatures across Europe this week, and will not peak in some places until Thursday or Friday
A temperature of 36C was recorded at a swimming pool in Essen, Germany, on Tuesday – with conditions set to worsen throughout the week
Meanwhile in Germany, usually speed-free autobahns had a 60mph limit imposed to stop ‘blow-ups’ – when the road surface disintegrates and shreds car tyres.
In Germany, temperatures above 40C are possible in some places on Wednesday, topping the country’s previous June record of 38.2C, set in Frankfurt in 1947 – temperatures of 97F (36C) were recorded today at one swimming pool in the city of Essen.
Parts of north-eastern Germany are also at high risk for forest fires. Authorities in the eastern state of Brandenburg, which circles Berlin, said the risk of forest fires is at the highest level in the coming days.
Spain is also set to sizzle in the heat as Spanish forecaster Silvia Laplana tweeted a picture of an all-red weather map captioned: ‘El infierno [hell] is coming.’
People enjoy the sunny and warm weather on the beach plage des Eaux-Vives on the shore of Lake of Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland, today
Visitors swim in a swimming pool in Essen, Germany, as the heatwaves settles in what forecasters are warning will likely be record-breaking temperatures for June
England: Three day weather forecast shows a drastic improvement from the rain and thunder storms we have been experiencing is to come on Thursday
France: Three day weather forecast shows no hint of rain for the country as sunshine covers the entirety and temperatures continue to soar
Spanish forecaster Silvia Laplana tweeted this heat map of Spain on Monday, joking: ‘El infierno (hell) is coming’
French citizens were warned of a threat to life while most of Germany was also issued with a heat warning this morning.
Meteorologists said that temperatures in French cities will reach the equivalent of 116F (47C) when high humidity is taken into account.
As a result national forecaster Météo France issued an orange warning – meaning there is a threat to life, even among otherwise health people – across more than half of the country, including Paris and the surrounding areas.
A heat warning was also issued across the majority of Germany, as people were warned to stay out of the sun and drink plenty of water.
Authorities in Saxony-Anhalt, to the west of Berlin, have imposed a 60mph speed limit on motorways amid fears the surface could crack and ‘blow up’ as it did during a heatwave in 2015.
Meanwhile, in nearby Brandenburg, firefighters were battling a blaze that has already consumed almost 250 acres of forest and have warned it will take several days to extinguish.
Officials warned people that the risk of forest fires is high and to take care during the heatwave, which is expected to last all week.
French meteorologist Meteorologist Guillaume Séchet told Le Parisien: ‘The mercury will already reach incredible temperatures but with the humidity level in the air, the feeling will be terrible.
A boy back flips to jump in the water at Amager Beach Park in Copenhagen, Denmark, today
People try to keep cool in the Barcaccia fountain in Rome Seasonal weather, Rome, Italy
People cool down in a fountain in the Trocadero gardens in Paris, across from the Eiffel Tower
Children jump in the water at The Snail, an attraction at Amager Beach Park in Copenhagen, Denmark
France is considering letting players at the women’s World Cup take water breaks, while fans were allowed to bring water into the game between Sweden and Canada last night
An elderly person drinking a glass of water to avoid heatstroke in Clermont-Ferrand, France
Holidaymakers crowd at the beach of Binz on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen, north Germany
People visit a swimming pool in the center of Lyon, central France
People walk around a lake at the melting Rhone Glacier in Furka, Switzerland, which will also see high temperatures this week
‘While we will have almost 40C in Paris, the atmosphere will be so heavy that we will feel the heat as if it were 47C.’
Advice on how to survive Europe’s heatwave
France’s weather agency says that ‘all of us, even in good health, are threatened’.
It advises that elderly people and those with chronic illnesses or mental health problems are most at risk.
Offering specific advice, it says:
- People who are outdoors should beware of heat stroke and dehydration
- Symptoms of heat stroke include dry skin, nausea, headache, drowsiness, thirst and loss of consciousness
- If you know elderly or isolated people, check on them twice a day
- Close shutters, windows and curtains during the day
- Spend two to three hours a day in cool, air-conditioned places such as cinemas or supermarkets
- Wet your body several times a day with a cloth or by taking showers or baths
- Drink plenty of water – about 1.5 litres (2.6 pints) a day if you are a senior
- Avoid going out during the hottest hours if possible
- If you must go out, wear a hat and light clothes and limit your physical activities
Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer also took the unusual step of delaying school exams that were due to be sat on Thursday and Friday until next week.
He said the decision was taken to ‘guarantee the security of the pupils’.
Public pools and fountains are being kept open later to combat the heat and water is being supplied to the vulnerable.
Meanwhile FIFA could be forced to introduce heat precautions at the women’s World Cup, which is being played in France
The precautions include holding cooling breaks during matches and postponing games if the heat is too intense.
On Monday night fans were allowed to bring their own bottles of water into the stadium to cool off as Sweden took on Canada.
French beekeepers and farming groups have said they are bracing for a ‘catastrophic’ honey harvest this year after frost damage in winter, an unusually rainy spring, and, now, unusually high temperatures.
‘In the hives, there is nothing to eat, beekeepers are having to feed them with syrup because they risk dying from hunger,’ added the union, which represents many small farms in honey-producing regions.
Parts of northern France were hit by powerful lightning storms on Tuesday morning, which drifted across the Channel to southern England, before the heat took hold.
People are being told to avoid the sun and drink plenty of water as French forecasters warned of a threat to life, even among healthy people
Meteorologists compared this week’s weather to a heatwave in 2003 which killed an estimated 15,000 people in France (pictured, a woman sunbathes in Lyon)
More than half of France has been issued with an orange heat warning, meaning there is a threat to life
The majority of Germany was also issued with a heat warning (pictured in purple)
In Germany, forecasters said temperatures of 36C in areas like the Upper Rhine region, which includes parts of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse.
Wednesday will be even hotter, especially in the Rhine-Main area of western and central Germany.
In the capital Berlin, highs of 37C are expected. In Düsseldorf, it will likely hit 35C.
However, it ‘will reach 39C and, in some places, even the 40C mark could be cracked,’ meteorologist Sabine Krüger said.
Wednesday will likely be the warmest day of the year so far, with a new record for June possible. The current record is 38.2C, which was recorded in 1947 in Frankfurt.
Temperatures in Germany could beat the previous June record of 38.2C (100.8F), set in Frankfurt in 1947, on Wednesday.
To date, the most severe heatwave in France was in 2003, when temperatures in the capital hit a record high of 104.72F (40.7C) on June 22nd that year – only a fraction higher than this week’s expected highs.
The highest temperatures in more than half a century eventually were estimated to have caused 15,000 heat-related deaths, many of older people left in city apartments and retirement homes without air conditioning.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that vigilance was the watchword for the week.
‘As you know, at times like these, sick people, pregnant women, infants and elderly people are the most vulnerable. So we must be vigilant with them and have prevention measures in place in order to intervene as quickly as possible,’ Mr Macron said.
French health minister Agnes Buzyn said that ‘everything is ready’ in retirement homes, hospitals and transportation systems.
‘Yet when people are fragile, even when everything is organised, there’s always a higher mortality rate,’ she warned.
Meteorologists said hot winds from the Sahara Desert brought the scorching weather to Europe. Similar heat is expected in Belgium, Switzerland and Germany.
Scientists say measurements show that heatwaves in Europe are becoming more frequent.
Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said ‘monthly heat records all over the globe occur five times as often today as they would in a stable climate’.
Officials across Europe have released guidelines for surviving the scorching weather and hospitals are on high-alert for a surge in admissions related to dehydration, heat-stroke and other weather-related conditions.
In Paris, officials pledged to open ‘cool rooms’ inside public buildings, set up temporary water fountains and leave the city’s parks and gardens unlocked and accessible at night.
City workers would also distribute water to the homeless and install fans in schools and nurseries.
France is wary of a repeat of the intense heatwave of summer 2003, when nearly 15,000 died over a two-week period, most of them elderly.
A man cools himself down in a pond at the Trocadero esplanade in Paris where orange warnings are issued
People cool themselves down in a pond at the Trocadero esplanade in Paris. A number of parks are being kept open later to allow people to cool down
In Germany, rescue services urged people to look out for young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems who are at particular risk in high temperatures.
Authorities in the eastern state of Brandenburg, which circles Berlin, say the risk of forest fires is at the highest level in the coming days.
Scientists say measurements show that heat waves in Europe are becoming more frequent.
Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said ‘monthly heat records all over the globe occur five times as often today as they would in a stable climate.’
‘This increase in heat extremes is just as predicted by climate science as a consequence of global warming caused by the increasing greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and gas,’ he added.
Britain’s MetOffice said it was particularly concerned that the heatwave could trigger ‘violent storms’ and warned Britons to expect ‘hot, humid and unstable’ weather.
It issued a severe weather warning for heavy rain and thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday, saying the highest temperatures would be in excess of 86F (30C) in central and southwest England.
A German Federal Police helicopter carries water in a bucket to extinguish forest fire near Lieberoser Heide in eastern Germany
An Asian elephant holds a water hose with his trunk to splash water for refreshment on himself at the zoo of Berlin, as temperatures in the German capital reach some 91F (33C)
Officials in Paris have vowed to set up cool-zones for people to take a break from the heat (pictured, elderly people in an air-conditioned room in Souffelweyersheim)
A man wets his hat at a public fountain during an unusually early summer heatwave on June 24, 2019 in Rome
Spain’s AEMET weather agency issued a ‘yellow alert’ for severe weather on Sunday, but said it expected the heat to peak later in the week with temperatures soaring over 104F (40C), particularly inland.
‘Temperatures may exceed 42 degrees’ [107.6F] in the northeastern Ebro valley area from Thursday until Saturday, the agency said, indicating the heat could persist into early next week.
And after last summer’s heatwave, farmers were again fearful the high temperatures could damage crops.
‘Should we get tropical temperatures of 35 degrees (95F) or more , that would depress the crop yields,’ farmers’ spokesman Joachim Rukwied told DPA news agency, saying grain crops had received just enough rainfall last month and were going through an ‘important growing phase’.
In Belgium, the Royal Meteorological Institute also issued a severe heat warning, saying it was expecting temperatures in the range of 93F to 95F (34C to 35C) from Tuesday, with similar hot weather also expected in Switzerland.
Dutch officials issued a heat warning in seven of its 12 provinces Sunday.
They urged people, especially the young and elderly to drink plenty of water, to stay indoors and use protective clothing and sunblock.
The Dutch ‘Heat Plan’ comes into action when continuous temperatures above 80.6F (27C) are forecast.
Greece was also expected to record blistering temperatures this weekend, with forecasters warning of highs of 102F (39C) in some areas although they were seen falling earlier next week.
In the Balkans, soaring temperatures saw many people flocking to rivers, lakes and swimming pools in an effort to cool down last week, although a weekend of stormy weather helped take the edge off the heat.
This latest intense heatwave again shows the impact of global warming on the planet, and such weather conditions are likely to become more frequent, meteorologists said.
The upturn in weather on its way for Britain will be a far cry from Tuesday’s violent thunderstorms, which brought widespread flooding and torrential rain with more than a week’s worth falling in just an hour in East Sussex.
Forecasters predict that the Uk’s 35C (95F) June temperature record could be under threat by Friday or Saturday.
It was a particularly wet and muddy start at Glastonbury Festival today, but forecasters are warning revellers to pack both their wellies and sun cream with temperatures equivalent to that expected in Marrakesh this week.
People exercise in Green Park in London, where temperatures reached 79F as forecasters predicted a week of hot weather to com
Despite forecasts of a heatwave, parts of the Glastonbury Festival site are already laden with mud after heavy overnight rain – as these early arrivals discovered this morning
A visitor to Green Park enjoys a lazy snooze amid the humid and muggy conditions in the UK this afternoon, with more sunny weather predicted later this week
The heatwave has begun with humid thunderstorms and severe weather warnings covering the majority of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales today.
What is the Saharan Bubble and why is it causing havoc in Britain?
Britain could break its 35C (95F) June temperature record this week with the arrival of a 2,000-mile wide African plume in continental Europe.
But it will begin with humid thunderstorms and severe weather warnings covering the majority of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
A huge bubble of hot air from northern Africa will move north of Algeria towards Italy and Spain today.
High pressure will mean the mercury is still high, but tropical thunderstorms will also bring rain, wind and hail.
The grim spell of showers and storms will last until Wednesday, when conditions will start to improve.
The Met Office forecast UK temperature highs building from 28C on Monday to nearly 30C by Thursday and potential for 34C – and possibly hotter if less cloud – on Friday and Saturday.
This morning, forecasters issued ‘danger to life’ warnings across England and Wales as the country was hit by the tail-end of a 60-hour weather bomb, with lightning and monsoon rain wreaking havoc for commuters.
Parts of East Sussex was struck by 0.8 inches of rain in one hour this morning, while Kent experienced the same rainfall in three hours as roads in both city centres and local villages were deluged by flash floods.
There were delays of hours for train users too, with all rail lines from Brighton through Haywards Heath blocked due to the flooding on the tracks, while 14 trapped residents in Stirling had to be rescued by lifeboat teams.
Many disgruntled Britons cursed the wet start to the summer on social media, while others made the most of the dreary conditions by ditching their clothes and going for a swim in flooded underpaths and high streets.
Torrential downpours extended all the way up to central Scotland, where the roof of a Tesco supermarket collapsed under the weight of rainwater as it burst through the ceiling and onto the shop floor below.
Overnight in Hastings, East Sussex, between 0.6in (15mm) and 0.8in (20mm) of rain fell in just one hour, while 0.8in (20mm) fell in East Malling, Kent, over a three-hour period, according to the Met Office.
A yellow thunderstorm warning covering central and eastern England and a yellow rain warning covering North Wales and north-west England are in place.
Disgruntled commuters took to Twitter to express their disbelief at the terrible weather this morning, with one writing: ‘Tell me again, what month is it? Stood at the bus stop in a rain coat with my hood up.’
Another user tweeted: ‘What is this summer? It’s f****** summer and it’s just rain.’
Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: ‘The storms have arrived along the south coast of England from the Isle of Wight to the Dove Strait with increasing amounts of thundery activity.
‘Those storms are expected to clear by the time we get to 7am, leaving some light rain for an hour or so before it gets drier through the morning.
One woman was seen wading through the mud today at Glastonbury wearing wellies and jeans and she attempted to cross through a puddle
Red and yellow and pink and green, orange and purple too! You can see a rainbow when you look at the swathe of tents which have already been put up at Glastonbury ahead of the festival
Earlier this morning, a pair of young girls were pictured swimming through a flooded underpass after torrential rain struck Stirling in Scotland this morning
boy holds an umbrella over the Beatles statue on the Liverpool Pier this afternoon as rainy conditions swept throughout the UK today
Many disgruntled Britons cursed the wet start to the summer on social media, while others made the most of the dreary conditions by going for a swim in flooded underpaths (left) and high streets (right)
The heavy thunderstorms (pictured here above London today) are being powered by a 2,000-mile wide plume of warm continental air from northern Africa, which is moving across Europe and leading to heatwaves throughout the continent
A bizarre photograph taken in Fife appears to show a council worker watering plants as rain batters this area this morning
Pictured: Water pours in through the ceiling at Tesco in Stirling last night as flooding and thunderstorms continue to dog Britain today
The ceiling at a Tesco in Stirling last night caved in after water poured in as rain hammered the UK with the downpour set to continue throughout today
London’s skyscrapers are obscured by clouds this morning as thunderstorms pound Britain and flooding hits the south-east of England
‘The storms will continue north-eastwards over parts of East Anglia and the Humber before edging out over the North Sea.
‘There could be some localised flooding, but certainly some surface water flooding which can cause problems to drive through as well as spray.
‘So the early morning commute could be challenging, especially in areas north of London as that’s where the heaviest rain will be at that point.’
As well as problems on the roads, passengers using some southern routes have been advised to check for potential disruption to journeys.
National Rail Enquiries said passengers on Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink services could be affected.
The storms are being fed by an area of warm air that brought a muggy night for many – with temperatures only falling to 68F (20C) in some parts of the South East.
The mercury is expected to climb quickly after the lively weather moves through, with up to 27C (80F) expected in parts of the south on Tuesday afternoon.
Met Office ‘danger to life’ weather warnings remain in place across southern England, with a fortnight’s worth of rain falling in just one day in some areas yesterday and equal amounts predicted today.
A heavy rainstorm catches out pedestrians in Manchester city centre this afternoon as the country experienced a mix of showers and hot weather thanks to an African plume
Yellow weather warnings remain in place today as thunderstorms batter Britain, following flooding yesterday, as the Sahara Bubble blights the UK
Pictured: Lighting strikes over Ramsgate this morning as thunderstorms are set to dog the country, with wet weather expected across most regions of England
Water bursting through the doors of Stirling University (pictured left), while shown right, a bus makes it way along a flooded road near Edinburgh
Drenched commuters are pictured making their way through Bristol this morning, which experienced heavy rainfall along with much of the south west
Commuters tackle terrible conditions on the A417 outside Cirencester as torrential rain creates dangerous driving conditions
Pictured: Torrential rain has flooded parts of the south-east, with floods pictured at Haywards Heath petrol station this morning as bad weather is set to continue throughout the day
Flooding has blighted Sussex this morning, as rising water is pictured at a builders merchant in Haywards Heath this morning
Brighton and south-west London are also expected to be of the first affected as intense thunderstorms hit the coast in the early hours of today.
An intense and isolated patch of precipitation can also seen to be hovering between Shrewsbury and Birmingham ready to pour at any moment.
But later in the week Britain could break its 35C (95F) June temperature record as, once the showers have died out, the 2,000-mile wide African air plume brings a heatwave from across continental Europe.
UK temperatures will be hotter than Egypt and Thailand – but sweltering humidity could still make Glastonbury a muddy affair this year.
Hot air is shown on a dramatic weather map covering Britain and stretching from Spain to Norway. Germany, due 41C (106F), is set to break its 40.3C (104.5) temperature record.
Edinburgh experienced 44mm of rain yesterday, while their average rain fall for the month of July is 80-100mm, meaning they had around 50 per cent of the month’s rain in just 24 hours.
The majority of the rain in Edinburgh, 33mm, fell in just three hours yesterday afternoon causing flash flooding.
But hot air moving in from continental Europe will bring with it drier, sunnier and warmer conditions, and by Saturday parts of London could get as hot as 35C.
Both the UV index and the pollen count are forecast to remain high this week.
Ms Maxey said: ‘People who suffer from hay fever might feel quite uncomfortable.’
The first Government heat health warning of the year put hospitals on alert for an increase in admissions and ordered health and social workers to prepare to make daily contact with the ill, vulnerable and elderly.
Despite a wet start, the Met Office said summer is ten times more likely to be much-hotter-than-average than much-cooler-than-average across June, July and August.
Pictured: A man walks across the South Bank in central London as fain continues to fall in the capital today, with thunderstorms expected throughout the week
Commuters are pictured this morning in Bristol, where they had to contend with rain as they headed to work in miserable weather today
Pictured: Workers make their way through the heavy downpours that are hitting Bristol this morning as commuters contend with the continuing bad weather
Pictured: The wet weather will today move south of the border, with northern, central and south-eastern areas of England set to be the worst-affected
A 2,000-mile wide African air plume called the Saharan Bubble is expected to bring Europe a record heatwave – with Britain expected to break through its 35C (95F) June temperature record. Temperatures for today pictured above
Supermarket sales suffer from wet start to summer so far
The wet start to the summer sent ice cream, beer and burger sales plummeting on this time last year as shoppers turned to soup to cope with the unseasonable conditions, supermarket sales figures show.
Grocers enjoyed only modest growth of 1.4% year on year over the quarter to June 16, largely down to last year’s bumper summer which included soaring temperatures and the build-up to the men’s FIFA World Cup, according to analysts Kantar.
Ice cream sales over the last month were £15 million lower than the same time last year, while beer was down £17 million and burgers fell £6 million. Instead, shoppers turned to comfort food as the rain fell, with fresh and tinned soup sales up by 8% and 16% respectively.
Aldi attracted 883,000 more shoppers over the quarter, extending its market share by 0.5 percentage points on last year to 7.9%. Lidl also enjoyed another strong period, with sales up by 7.5% and market share reaching 5.7%.
Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said: ‘Warm air from north Africa will bring an extensive heatwave to large parts of western and central Europe, with highs into the 40s (104F) in Germany and France.
‘The UK will see highs build through the week after 28C (82.4F) on Monday and Tuesday. By Friday and Saturday sees the chance of 34C (93.2F), and possibly warmer if there is more sunshine and less cloud in the west, which is forecast to be the hottest area.
‘It will be very humid, with thunderstorms until Tuesday bringing the risk of localised flooding, and showers popping up later in the week.
‘Glastonbury has wet ground and risks thundery showers before the festival and occasional showers during the event, but will be in the region with the hottest temperatures – so pack wellies and sun cream.’
Mr Partridge continued: ‘An extensive heatwave is on the way for much of the UK for the best part of a week. ‘Heat from north Africa will cover a big area of Europe, with up to 41C (106F) in western Germany and France.’
The hottest day should be Friday, when up to 33C (91F) is expected in Somerset, which is likely to be the warmest part of the country.
The weather in Glastonbury as the music festival gets under way – with a temperature equivalent to that expected in Marrakech, Morocco – means crowds should stock up on sunscreen. However, more thunder due at the weekend could mean festival-goers still need their wellington boots.
Referring to the torrential rain expected today, the Met Office said: ‘There is a small chance homes and businesses could be flooded quickly, with damage from flood water, lightning strikes, hail or strong winds.
‘There is a small chance of fast-flowing or deep flood water causing danger to life.’
A lady wanders through a field of colourful poppies near Badbury Rings, Dorset
This stunning snap was taken by landscape photographer Verity Milligan on farmland near Bewdley, Worcestershire just before dawn
he poppy field is on farmland near Bewdley in Worcestershire, and has returned after a few years of no flowers according to photographer Verity