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AFP
July 23, 2019

Europe scorched againParis braces for record heat

World

AFP
July 23, 2019

PARIS: Parisians were on Monday bracing for potentially the hottest ever temperature in the French capital this week as a new heatwave blasted into northern Europe that could set records in several countries.

Temperatures were already set to top 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday in Paris, but the mercury could soar beyond 40C on Thursday and topple a temperature record dating back to 1947.

The severe heat, which forecasters say will only last a few days but will be exceptionally intense, is expected to affect northern France and parts of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

"It’s likely that these three countries see temperatures at or above 40C for the first time," Francois Jobard, a forecaster from the French Meteo France weather office, told AFP.

The new blast of hot air comes less than a month after a heatwave scorched Europe at the end of June, forcing new attention on the issue of climate change.

"The heatwave that is too much," said the headline in the Le Parisien daily on Monday, highlighting that "Act II" of this summer’s severe weather would further hurt production of crops from potatoes to grapes.

"Thursday (July 25) will be a potentially historically hot day," added Jobard from Meteo France.

"We are forecasting 41 or 42 degrees in Paris on Thursday and there is the strong chance of beating the record," he added. The highest ever temperature recorded in Paris was 40.4 degrees Celsius (104.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in 1947. Since records began in 1873, this was the only time a plus-40 temperature was recorded in the French capital, he said.

Other French cities could also see their all time records tumble on Thursday including Reims, Bourges, Lille and Clermont Ferrand, he said.

Britain will also see high temperatures, but will still be significantly cooler than countries on the continent.

Forecasters predict there is a chance the 36.7 degrees Celsius (98.1 degrees Fahrenheit) record high for July -- set on July 1, 2015 at London Heathrow Airport -- could be broken.

Germany was already experiencing several forest fires and drying river beds while farmers fear another bad crop after last year’s low yield which was also caused by an unusually hot summer.

The French government has warned that wine production will be down by between six to 13 percent over 2018, notably because of the ongoing heatwave.

Huge wildfires that have ravaged the mountainous Castelo Branco region of central Portugal and left dozens injured have been "90 percent" controlled, firefighters said on Monday, but warned that strong winds could cause the flames to spread.

The new heatwave in northern Europe came as the United States also sweltered in extreme hot temperatures.

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