Another heatwave is building across south-west Europe, with Britain on course for soaring temperatures from this weekend, according to forecasters.
Temperatures in Britain will soar into the 30s and experts warned that little rain was on the horizon to ease the record dry spell currently underway since the latest heatwave pushed temperatures above 40C for the first time in history.
The Met Office’s Annie Shuttleworth told The independent that “very warm air” over continental Europe means temperatures could be 10C higher than average in some areas.
“While not as extreme as recent heat waves, persistent above-average temperatures across much of Iberia and southern France are likely to exacerbate ongoing heat-related problems,” she said.
Almost all of France is now subject to restrictions on water use due to the drought. The country is experiencing its third heat wave this summer, where thousands of people have been evacuated due to forest fires. Almost 400 hectares have burned since the weekend.
Spain is also in the grip of a “crippling” drought with crops such as avocados and olives affected. Along with Portugal, the countries are facing their driest conditions in 1,200 years, and more than 1,000 people are said to have died in relation to the extreme heat this summer. This week, temperatures are expected to top 40 degrees again.
Master forecaster Scott Duncan tweeted a heat map of Western Europe and wrote: “Another significant heat wave building into Europe right now. This summer is simply brutal.”
Speaking of Britain, the Met Office’s Graham Madge told The independent: “It’s been a rollercoaster for the past three weeks.
“We’ve had two big situations that have developed – one on the back of another. The record high temperatures and then the ongoing underlying record lack of rainfall for parts of southern England.”
“We’re going to see temperatures rise towards the end of next week. Starting this weekend, an area of high pressure will begin to build, and as it does, temperatures will rise, especially in the south and east.
“We expect temperatures in the low to mid 30s range [centigrade]. So not to reach the record levels we saw on July 19. But it’s still hot.”
As we move towards autumn, the potential for intense heat is reduced due to shorter days and the sun is slightly lower in the sky. All these factors came into play two weeks ago, but now they have been limited a little.”
As for drought, Madge said: “We can’t see any meaningful rain for southern England within our short-throw window which is the next seven to 10 days. Beyond that, we will generally expect stable conditions to prevail, which in summer means less precipitation. There could be intense rainfall if we get summer thunderstorms or the like, so local areas could see – or even be affected by – heavy rain.”
He added: “I don’t think there’s anything in the immediate forecast that puts us on track to help recharge reservoirs or groundwater levels.”
A quick analysis by researchers after July’s record-breaking heat wave found that the climate crisis had made the event at least 10 times more likely to occur.
The research team led by experts at UCL and Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment also said this was a conservative estimate as extreme temperatures in Western Europe are rising faster than climate models predicted.