Europe heatwave: Scorching 45C ‘huge heat dome’ sparks panic as 20 orange alerts issued

Weather: Expert warns of 'longest heatwave in 50 years

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In France today, 20 departments have established orange alerts due to high temperatures. Its heatwave started on Monday in the southwest and is now moving northwards, with temperatures expected to reach up to 39 degrees Celsius.

Weather channel La Chaîne Météo described the event as a “huge heat dome”.

Parisians woke up this morning to a temperature of above 20 degrees.

This is set to peak today at 35 before subsiding in the evening, according to reports.

In Spain, too, dozens of regions have been put on alert for “infernal” temperatures of up to 45 degrees in what 20Minutes dubbed “the worst day of the heatwave”.

High temperatures are not set to subside until Monday.

The paper warned Spaniards: “The heat wave is ravaging our country this week, with thermometers that are going to leave maximum temperatures of up to 47 degrees in some provinces.”

In a number of areas across Europe, wildfires prompted by the heatwave have caused widespread destruction of homes and other properties.

A fire that started last week in the Ourém municipality of Portugal was reignited yesterday due to strong winds.

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Around 300 people were evacuated from several villages due to the fire.

Retiree Joaquim Gomes told Reuters: “I don’t remember anything like what is happening today. It is everywhere.”

In the nearby municipality of Leiria, blazes caused the closure of three main highways, according to reports.

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High temperatures are being experienced in the UK this week, too, with health officials urging Britons to take extra care.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at the UK Health and Security Agency, said: “Most of us can enjoy the hot weather when it arrives, but it is important to keep yourself hydrated and to find shade where possible when UV rays are strongest.”

The agency has, however, been mocked for an attitude that “borders on hysteria”.

Philip Johnston wrote in the Telegraph asked: “Why the panic? It is not as if we are facing anything on a par with the long, hot summer of 1976 when for 15 consecutive days… temperatures reached 32C somewhere in England.

“If that happened today, ministers, Army chiefs and health officials would be meeting in a permanent crisis session.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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