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Europe reels under heatwave, 3 killed in France

Paris, June 26 (IANS) A heatwave likened to “hell” has been sweeping across Europe disrupting normal life and claiming lives. Forecasters have warned of the record breaking heatwave in the continent in the coming days.

Three swimmers died in France where the temperature is forecast to rise up to 45 degree Celsius, breaking the all-time record of 44.1 degree Celsius in the country.

“The forecast is all about the heat for Europe in the next few days, potentially record-breaking heat across parts of western Europe as we tap into air all the way from northern Africa,” said BBC weather presenter Susan Powell.

“Getting pulled up ahead an area of low pressure, which will get stalled out in the Atlantic. High pressure starts to build, we lose the rain and we tap into that southerly airflow carrying the warm air as far north as the United Kingdom,” she said.

Meteorologists are expecting previous June highs to be approached and possibly exceeded in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland, with all-time records likely to fall in some countries.

“The latest forecasts leave little room for doubt: we are heading for a new national record,” said French forecaster Guillaume Woznica. French national meteorological service Météo-France was now predicting peaks of 45 degree Celsius in the towns of Nîmes and Carpentras on Friday, she added.

The so-called Saharan Bubble weather is understood to have been linked to the deaths of three swimmers at beaches in France, according to local reports. French news outlet LCI said they had died in separate incidents on beaches in southern France.

A man aged 70 suffered a cardiac arrest in calm water and was believed to have been a victim of “thermic shock” after coming into contact with the water. Two other persons died in similar circumstances. A woman, 62, died at a beach near Montpellier, and a man aged 75 died at another beach nearby.

French fire-fighters have warned against swimming in cold water during the heatwave to avoid so-called “hydrocution”. French forecasters have predicted that the country may experience its “hottest June” on record.

A 2,000 mile wide plume of hot air, dubbed the “Saharan bubble”, blowing across Africa is expected to bring hot conditions across the continent to be followed by days of widespread downpours and flooding in the UK.

The UK’s Met Office said temperatures would become “increasingly warm over the next few days”. The highest temperature on record for June is 35.6 degree Celsius, recorded in London on June 29, 1957 and Southampton on June 28, 1976.

In Spain, forecaster Silvia Laplana tweeted a picture of an all-red weather map captioned: “El infierno (hell) is coming.” She later tweeted while summer is hot, this “extensive and intense” heat was “not normal”.

In Germany, temperatures above 40 degree Celsius are possible in some places, topping the country’s previous June record of 38.2 degree Celsius, recorded in Frankfurt in 1947, reports say.



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