AP PHOTOS: Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat
From a usually-temperate Britain to Europe’s blistering southern nations, people across the continent are trying to stay cool amid sweltering temperatures.
In the U.K. — where the country’s weather organization issued its first ever “red” warning for extreme heat — parks and roads were bare as many sought shade indoors. Guards at Buckingham Palace weren’t spared the soaring temperatures, breaking their usual stoicism for sips of water. For the first time on record, temperatures went above 40 C (104 F) in England on Tuesday.
Those who intended to travel suffered travel disruptions, with several train lines unable to cope with the unusually hot weather. Staff greeted passengers with bottles of water at some of London’s major railway stations.
The record-breaking heat and dry weather triggered wildfires across the south of the continent and hundreds of heat-related deaths. At least six people were reported to have drowned in the U.K. while trying to cool off.
Water levels are dangerously low in reservoirs in northern Britain, while southern nations in Europe are experiencing drought — creating optimal conditions for wildfires to continue to spread. Climate experts warn that heat waves are getting more frequent, lasting longer and are more intense because of global warming.
At the Tour de France, which is currently in a more mountainous stage of the race, riders attached ice packs under their clothing to beat the weather. Beaches in southwest France were covered in thick smoke from nearby wildfires.
Those who did brace the heat took to rivers, lakes or swimming pools or shaded themselves with umbrellas in an attempt to stay cool. But in many places, even the seaside was too hot for many.
In Germany, which is also searing from high temperatures, some people took to exercising in the early morning hours, before the heat took full effect. Spain’s annual water fight saw hundreds flock to the streets of Madrid to get soaked in water.
Weather forecasts offer some consolation for those enduring the blistering sun, with temperatures expected to ease Tuesday and rain expected late in the day.
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