(Strasbourg) The extreme and early heatwave that has swept southern and central Europe in recent days and caused numerous wildfires moved further east on Sunday, with new records being broken in Germany and Austria.
Updated yesterday at 12:22pm.
According to the DWD, the 38-degree limit was reached in eastern Germany in the regions of Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg.
In the city of Cottbus, the thermometer even rose to 38.7 °C, a new record for the month of June in the country.
As a result of the heat, the fire that broke out in Brandenburg near Berlin on Friday has spread further and now covers almost 100 hectares.
“Around 700 people” were evacuated from “three districts” of the town of Treuenbrietzen in the Brandenburg area around Berlin on Sunday, a spokesman for the Potsdam-Mittelmark district told the AFP news agency.
According to local media, the fire devastated around a hundred hectares in this wooded and rural region around the municipality of Treuenbrietzen, which is home to almost 8,000 residents.
The increase in heat waves in Europe is a direct result of global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions increase the strength, duration and repetition rate of heat waves, scientists say.
“We avoid going out too much”
The French weather service on Sunday morning lifted its red alert for the 11 affected departments in the south-west, where all-out heat records were broken on Saturday, such as the 42.9C recorded in Biarritz.
But 52 others remain in orange vigilance in the country’s center and east, with spikes that can reach 39C in Alsace, a region bordering Germany.
In the blazing sun and sweltering heat, the forecourt of the Strasbourg Cathedral, which is usually overcrowded on spring Sundays, was deserted, and the most daring tourists stormed into the ice cream parlors
“We avoid going out too much,” notes Guillaume Martin, a 30-year-old medical student who has just cast his ballot at one of the country’s polling stations on the day of the general election.
As a result of this heat wave, coupled with an already widespread drought, 600 hectares of vegetation in the Var (South) went up in smoke and was set ablaze by artillery fire at a military training camp.
And in Aveyron, a fire devastated 430 hectares before it could be brought under control without any casualties.
According to Météo-France, the heat wave should gradually subside during the night from Sunday to Monday, mainly under the influence of thunderstorms.
Always warmer in Switzerland, record in Austria
In neighboring Switzerland, “after the first monthly heat records on Saturday, the temperatures will rise a few degrees today,” said MeteoSwiss.
By 12:00 GMT, temperatures were already between 32 and 34°C, 1 to 4°C higher than on Saturday at the same time. The 35°C mark had already been reached in Geneva.
Neuchâtel (West) has clearly broken its record with 34.7°C compared to a previous record of 34.1°C in 2019.
On the Austrian side of the border, at 3 p.m. local time in Feldkirch in Vorarlberg (west), it was 36.5 degrees above the previous record of 36.3 °C of June 30, 1950, according to the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZMG) .
According to a study by the institute, the number of days with a temperature of at least 30°C in June has doubled or even quadrupled in the lower regions of Austria in recent decades.
In Switzerland, temperatures will drop slightly after this heat spike but remain at scorching levels on Monday and Tuesday.
25,000 hectares burned in Spain
In Spain, temperatures were already starting to drop across most of the country, with mercury forecast to reach just 29C in Madrid and 25C in Zamora province (north-west) on Sunday.
But the country was still battling wildfires, the largest of which has already destroyed more than 25,000 hectares in the Sierra de la Culebra, a mountain range in the Castile and León region, near the border with Portugal, according to regional authorities.
The fire had forced authorities to evacuate 14 villages with several hundred residents. They were allowed to return home on Sunday morning when the situation improved, local officials said.
Spanish firefighters also continued to fight several fires in Catalonia and Navarra.
The current wave came from the Maghreb via the Iberian Peninsula.