power grid operators to hire more workers amid fears of electricity shortages.

In Norway, a winter without much snow and an exceptionally dry spring, including the driest April in 122 years, reduced water levels in lakes and rivers. Shallow waters in Mjosa, the country’s largest lake, kept its famed Skibladner paddle wheel boat tied up at port and prompted city officials in Oslo to send out text messages urging people to take shorter showers and avoid watering lawns.

“Do that for Oslo,” read the text message, “so that we’ll still have water for the most important things in our lives.” In May, Statnett SF, the operator of the national electricity grid, raised the alarm about shortfalls.

But the skies offered no relief and this month, as the country’s hydro reservoirs — especially in the south — approached what Energy Minister Terje Aasland has called “very low” levels, hydropower producers cut output to save water for the coming winter.

The reservoirs were about 60 percent full, about 10 percent less than the average over the previous two decades, according to data from the energy regulator.

Southern Norway, which holds more than a third of the country’s reservoirs, is dotted with red barns on green fields and fishing boats along the coast. On a stream in the Agder region, a sign put up by the energy company, like a relic from another time, warned, “The water level can rise suddenly and without warning.”

But recent months have shown that there is danger in the water level dropping, too. Reservoirs had dwindled to their lowest point in 20 years, at just 46 percent full. One, Rygene, was so low as to force the temporary closing of the plant. On Tuesday, the rainstorms returned, but the ground was so dry, Mr. Eikeland said as he surveyed the basin, that the earth “drinks up all the water” and the water levels in the reservoirs barely rose.

He sped his electric car farther south toward Kristiansand, where a large grid sends electricity around the country’s south and to Denmark. In a fenced-off area above the hill, a Norwegian industrial developer was building a data center for clients such as Amazon, which would suck up a significant share of locally produced electricity in order to cool vast computer servers.

This year’s drought has only highlighted the urgent need for a wider energy transformation, Mr. Eikeland said.

“The drought shows that we are not ready for the big changes,” he said, but also “that we will not accept the high prices.”

Reporting was contributed by Christopher F. Schuetze from Germany, Constant Méheut from France, Gaia Pianigiani from Italy, Isabella Kwai from London and Henrik Pryser Libell from Norway.

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Colorado River Cuts Expected For Arizona, Nevada And Mexico

By Associated Press
August 16, 2022

The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people across seven states in the American West as well as Mexico.

The federal government on Tuesday is expected to announce water cuts to states that rely on the Colorado River as drought and climate change leave less water flowing through the river and deplete the reservoirs that store it.

The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people across seven states in the American West as well as Mexico and helps feed an agricultural industry valued at $15 billion a year. Cities and farms across the region are anxiously awaiting official hydrology projections — estimates of future water levels in the river — that will determine the extent and scope of cuts to their water supply.

Water officials in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are expecting federal officials to project Lake Mead — located on the Nevada-Arizona border and the largest manmade reservoir in the U.S. — to shrink to dangerously low levels that could disrupt water delivery and hydropower production and cut the amount of water allocated to Arizona and Nevada, as well as Mexico.

And that’s not all: Officials from the states are also scrambling to meet a deadline imposed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to slash their water use by at least 15% in order to keep water levels at the river’s storage reservoirs from dropping even more.

Together, the projections and the deadline for cuts are presenting Western states with unprecedented challenges and confronting them with difficult decisions about how to plan for a drier future.

While the Bureau of Reclamation is “very focused on just getting through this to next year,” any cutbacks will likely need to be in place far longer, said University of Oxford hydrologist Kevin Wheeler.

“What contribution the science makes is, it’s pretty clear that that these reductions just have to stay in place until the drought has ended or we realize they actually have to get worse and the cuts have to get deeper,” he said.

The cuts expected to be announced Tuesday are based on a plan the seven states as well as Mexico signed in 2019 to help maintain reservoir levels. Under that plan, the amount of water allocated to states depends on the water levels at Lake Mead. Last year, the lake fell low enough for the federal government to declare a first-ever water shortage in the region, triggering mandatory cuts for Arizona and Nevada as well as Mexico in 2022.

Officials expect hydrologists will project the lake to fall further, triggering additional cuts to Nevada, Arizona and Mexico next year. States with higher priority water rights are not expected to see cuts.

Reservoir levels have been falling for years — and faster than experts predicted — due to 22 years of drought worsened by climate change and overuse of the river. Scorching temperatures and less melting snow in the spring have reduced the amount of water flowing from the Rocky Mountains, where the river originates before it snakes 1,450 miles southwest and into the Gulf of California.

Already, extraordinary steps have been taken this year to keep water in Lake Powell, the other large Colorado River reservoir, which sits upstream of Lake Mead and straddles the Arizona-Utah border. Water from the lake runs through Glen Canyon Dam, which produces enough electricity to power between 1 million and 1.5 million homes each year.

After water levels at Lake Powell reached levels low enough to threaten hydropower production, federal officials said they would hold back an additional 480,000 acre-feet (more than 156 billion gallons) of water to ensure the dam could still produce energy. That water would normally course to Lake Mead.

Under Tuesday’s reductions, Arizona is expected to lose slightly more water than it did this year, when 18% of its supply was cut. In 2023, it will lose an additional 3%, an aggregate 21% reduction from its initial allocation. Farmers in central Arizona will largely shoulder the cuts, as they did this year.

Mexico is expected to lose 7% of the 1.5 million acre-feet it receives each year from the river. Last year, it lost about 5%. The water is a lifeline for northern desert cities including Tijuana and a large farm industry in the Mexicali Valley, just south of the border from California’s Imperial Valley.

Nevada is also set to lose water — about 8% of its supply — but most residents will not feel the effects because the state recycles the majority of its water used indoors and doesn’t use its full allocation. Last year, the state lost 7%.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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European Drought Dries Up Rivers, Kills Fish, Shrivels Crops

By Associated Press
August 12, 2022

The European Commission’s Joint Research Center warned that drought conditions will get worse and potentially affect 47% of the continent.

Once, a river ran through it. Now, white dust and thousands of dead fish cover the wide trench that winds amid rows of trees in France’s Burgundy region in what was the Tille River in the village of Lux.

From dry and cracked reservoirs in Spain to falling water levels on major arteries like the Danube, the Rhine and the Po, an unprecedented drought is afflicting nearly half of Europe. It is damaging farm economies, forcing water restrictions, causing wildfires and threatening aquatic species.

There has been no significant rainfall for almost two months in the continent’s western, central and southern regions. In typically rainy Britain, the government officially declared a drought across southern and central England on Friday amid one of the hottest and driest summers on record.

And Europe’s dry period is expected to continue in what experts say could be the worst drought in 500 years.

Climate change is exacerbating conditions as hotter temperatures speed up evaporation, thirsty plants take in more moisture and reduced snowfall in the winter limits supplies of freshwater available for irrigation in the summer. Europe isn’t alone in the crisis, with drought conditions also reported in East Africa, the western United States and northern Mexico.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Center warned this week that drought conditions will get worse and potentially affect 47% of the continent.

The current situation is the result of long periods of dry weather caused by changes in world weather systems, said meteorologist Peter Hoffmann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin.

“It’s just that in summer we feel it the most,” he said. “But actually the drought builds up across the year.”

Climate change has lessened the temperature differences between regions, sapping the forces that drive the jet stream, which normally brings wet Atlantic weather to Europe, he said.

A weaker or unstable jet stream can result in unusually hot air coming to Europe from North Africa, leading to prolonged periods of heat. The reverse is also true, when a polar vortex of cold air from the Arctic can cause freezing conditions far south of where it would normally reach.

Hoffmann said observations in recent years have all been at the upper end of what the existing climate models predicted.

The drought has caused some European countries to impose restrictions on water usage, and shipping is endangered on the Rhine and the Danube rivers.

Millions in the U.K. were already barred from watering lawns and gardens under regional “hosepipe bans,” and 15 million more around London will face such a ban shortly.

The Rhine, Germany’s biggest waterway, is forecast to reach critically low levels in the coming days. Authorities say it could become difficult for many large ships to safely navigate the river at the city of Kaub, roughly midway between Koblenz and Mainz.

The drought is also hitting U.K. farmers, who face running out of irrigation water and having to use winter feed for animals because of a lack of grass. The Rivers Trust charity said England’s chalk streams — which allow underground springs to bubble up through the spongy layer of rock — are drying up, endangering aquatic wildlife like kingfishers and trout.

Even countries like Spain and Portugal, which are used to long periods without rain, have seen major consequences. In the Spanish region of Andalucia, some avocado farmers have had to sacrifice hundreds of trees to save others from wilting as the Vinuela reservoir in Malaga province dropped to only 13% of capacity.

Some European farmers are using water from the tap for their livestock when ponds and streams go dry, using up to 26 gallons a day per cow.

EU corn production is expected to be 12.5 million tons below last year and sunflower production is projected to be 1.6 million tons lower, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Harris To Announce $1B To States For Floods, Extreme Heat

By Associated Press
August 1, 2022

The competitive grants will help communities across the nation prepare for and respond to climate-related disasters.

The White House is making more than $1 billion available to states to address flooding and extreme heat exacerbated by climate change.

Vice President Kamala Harris is set to announce the grant programs Monday at an event in Miami with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other officials. The competitive grants will help communities across the nation prepare for and respond to climate-related disasters.

“We know that the impacts of the climate crisis are here, and that we must invest in building resilience to protect our communities, infrastructure and economy,” the White House said in a statement.

The announcement comes as the death toll from massive flooding in Kentucky continued to climb on Sunday amid a renewed threat of more heavy rains. In the West, wildfires in California and Montana exploded in size amid windy, hot conditions, encroaching on neighborhoods and forcing evacuation orders.

Multiple Western states continued heat advisories amid a prolonged drought that has dried reservoirs and threatened communities across the region.

Harris will visit the National Hurricane Center for a briefing by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and FEMA. She also will visit Florida International University, where she is expected to address extreme weather events across the country, including the flooding in Kentucky and Missouri and the wildfires in California.

President Joe Biden announced last month that the administration will spend $2.3 billion to help communities cope with soaring temperatures through programs administered by FEMA, the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies. The move doubles spending on the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, or BRIC, program, which supports states, local communities, tribes and territories on projects to reduce climate-related hazards and prepare for natural disasters such as floods and wildfires.

“Communities across our nation are experiencing first-hand the devastating impacts of the climate change and the related extreme weather events that follow — more energized hurricanes with deadlier storm surges, increased flooding and a wildfire season that’s become a year-long threat,” FEMA head Deanne Criswell said.

The funding to be announced Monday will “help to ensure that our most vulnerable communities are not left behind, with hundreds of millions of dollars ultimately going directly to the communities that need it most,” Criswell said.

A total of $1 billion will be made available through the BRIC program, with another $160 million to be offered for flood mitigation assistance, officials said.

Jacksonville, Florida, was among cities that received money under the BRIC program last year. The city was awarded $23 million for flood mitigation and stormwater infrastructure. Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida, sits in a humid, subtropical region along the St. Johns River and Atlantic Ocean, making it vulnerable to flooding when stormwater basins reach capacity. The city experiences frequent flooding and is at risk for increased major storms.

The South Florida Water Management District in Miami-Dade County received $50 million for flood mitigation and pump station repairs. Real estate development along the city’s fast-growing waterfront has created a high-risk flood zone for communities in the city and put pressure on existing systems, making repairs to existing structures an urgent need, officials said.

The Biden administration has launched a series of actions intended to reduce heat-related illness and protect public health, including a proposed workplace heat standard.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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House Approves Bill To Help West Fight Wildfires, Drought

The measure combines 49 separate bills, which include an increase in firefighter pay and make it easier for victims to get federal assistance.

The House on Friday approved wide-ranging legislation aimed at helping communities in the West cope with increasingly severe wildfires and drought — fueled by climate change — that have caused billions of dollars of damage to homes and businesses in recent years.

The measure combines 49 separate bills and would increase firefighter pay and benefits; boost resiliency and mitigation projects for communities affected by climate change; protect watersheds; and make it easier for wildfire victims to get federal assistance.

“Across America the impacts of climate change continue to worsen, and in this new normal, historic droughts and record-setting wildfires have become all too common,” said Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., the bill’s chief co-sponsor. Colorado has suffered increasingly devastating wildfires in recent years, including the Marshall fire last year that caused more than $513 million in damage and destroyed nearly 1,100 homes and structures in Boulder County.

“What once were wildfire seasons are now wildfire years. For families across the country who have lost their homes due to these devastating wildfires and for the neighborhoods impacted by drought, we know that we need to apply a whole-of-government approach to support community recovery and bolster environmental resiliency,” Neguse said. “This is a bill that we believe meets the moment for the West.”

The bill was approved, 218-199, as firefighters in California battled a blaze that forced evacuation of thousands of people near Yosemite National Park and crews in North Texas sought to contain another fire.

One Republican, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, voted in favor of the bill, while Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader was the only Democrat to oppose it.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has sponsored a similar measure.

Both the House and Senate bills would permanently boost pay and benefits for federal wildland firefighters. President Joe Biden signed a measure last month giving them a hefty raise for the next two years, a move that affects more than 16,000 firefighters and comes as much of the West braces for another difficult wildfire season.

Pay raises for the federal firefighters had been included in last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, but the money was held up as federal agencies studied recruitment and retention data to decide where to deliver them. The raise approved by President Biden was retroactive to Oct. 1, 2021, and expires Sept. 30, 2023.

The House bill would make the pay raises permanent and sets minimum pay for federal wildland firefighters at $20 per hour, or nearly $42,000 a year. It also raises eligibility for hazardous-duty pay and boosts mental health and other services for firefighters. The bill is named after smokejumper Tim Hart, who died fighting a wildfire in New Mexico last year.

“The West is hot — hotter than ever — it is dry and when it is windy, the West is on fire,” said Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash. “And we are seeing this every year because of climate change. That’s why this bill is so important.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the bill “a major victory for Californians — and for the country.” The Oak Fire, the largest wildfire so far this year, “is ravaging our state,” she said. “At the same time, countless of our communities regularly suffer lack of rainfall that can kill crops and further fuel fires.”

The House bill would deliver “urgently needed resources” to combat fires and droughts, “which will only increase in frequency and intensity due to the climate crisis,” Pelosi said. The bill includes $500 million to preserve water levels in key reservoirs in the drought-stricken Colorado River and invest in water recycling and desalination.

Republicans denounced the measure as “political messaging,” noting that firefighters’ hourly pay has already been increased above $20 in most cases. The House bill does not appropriate additional money for the Forest Service or other agencies, and without such an increase, the Forest Service says it would have to lay off about 470 wildland firefighters.

Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee, called it “egregious” that Democrats would seek to enact provisions that could lead to firefighter layoffs in the midst of a devastating wildfire season.

“Democrats are finally waking up to the wildfire and drought crises, exacerbated by years of forest mismanagement and a lack of long-term water storage. Unfortunately, Democrats’ proposals are anything but solutions,” Westerman said. He accused Democrats of failing to follow science showing the need to manage forests before fires begin, and said Democrats “fail to construct the kind of long-term infrastructure needed to make communities resilient to drought” while prioritizing “liberal talking points” about climate change.

Neguse called that accusation outrageous and noted that many of the bills included in the wildfire/drought legislation are Republican proposals.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the bill was important to the whole country — not just the West, where wildfires and drought are a daily reality.

“We are one nation indivisible and if one part of us is burning, we are all burning,” Hoyer said.

Besides boosting firefighter pay, the bill enhances forest management projects intended to reduce hazardous fuels such as small trees and underbrush that can make wildfires far more dangerous. It also establishes grant programs to help communities affected by air pollution from wildfires and improve watersheds damaged by wildfire.

Republicans called the thinning projects — which also include prescribed burns and removal of vegetation — meaningless without waivers of lengthy environmental reviews that can delay forest treatment by years.

The White House said in a statement that it supports efforts to address climate change, wildfires and drought, but wants to “work with the Congress to ensure the many provisions in the (bill) avoid duplication with existing authorities and administration efforts.″

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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U.K. Weather Turmoil Spurs Calls To Adapt To Climate Change

The country got a break Wednesday from the dry, hot weather that is gripping much of Europe as cooler air moved in from the west.

Britain’s record-breaking heatwave has spurred calls for the government to speed up efforts to adapt to a changing climate, especially after wildfires created the busiest day for London firefighters since bombs rained down on the city during World War II.

The country got a break Wednesday from the dry, hot weather that is gripping much of Europe as cooler air moved in from the west. Forecasters predict London will reach a high of 79 Fahrenheit on Wednesday, down from the national record 104.4 F set Tuesday at Coningsby in eastern England.

Even so, travel was disrupted for a third day as rail operators repaired damage caused by the heat, and firefighters continue to mop up hotspots at the scene of Tuesday’s fires.

Britain needs to prepare for similar heatwaves in the future because manmade carbon emissions have already changed the climate, said Professor Stephen Belcher, chief scientist at the Met Office, the U.K.’s national weather service. Only aggressive emissions reductions will reduce the frequency of such events, he said.

“Everything is still to play for, but we should adapt to the kind of events we saw yesterday as an occasional extreme event,” Baker told the BBC.

Climate scientists have been surprised by the speed at which temperatures in Britain have risen in recent years and the widespread area affected by this week’s event. Thirty-four locations around the U.K. on Tuesday broke the country’s previous record-high temperature of 100 F, set in 2019.

The weather walloped a country where few homes, schools or small businesses have air conditioning and infrastructure such as railroads, highways and airports aren’t designed to cope with such temperatures. Thirteen people, including seven teenage boys, are believed to have died trying to cool off after getting into difficulty in rivers, reservoirs and lakes.

Fifteen fire departments declared major incidents as more than 60 properties around the country were destroyed on Tuesday, Cabinet Office Minister Kit Malthouse told the House of Commons.

One of the biggest fires was in Wennington, a village on the eastern outskirts of London, where a row of houses was destroyed by flames that raced through tinder-dry fields nearby. Resident Tim Stock said he and his wife fled after the house next door caught fire and the blaze rapidly spread.

“It was like a war zone,” he said. “Down the actual main road, all the windows had exploded out, all the roofs had caved, it was like a scene from the Blitz.”

The London Fire Brigade received 2,600 calls Tuesday, compared with the normal figure of about 350, Mayor Sadiq Khan said, adding that it was the department’s busiest day since the World War II. Despite lower temperatures on Wednesday, the fire danger remains high because hot, dry weather has parched grasslands around the city, Khan said.

“Once it catches fire it spreads incredibly fast, like wildfires like you see in movies or in fires in California or in parts of France,” Khan told the BBC.

Phil Gerigan, leader of the National Fire Chiefs Council’s resilience group, said wildfires are an emerging threat tied to climate change that is stretching the capacity of fire departments. Britain may need to expand its capacity to fight wildfires, adding more aerial tankers and helicopters, he told the BBC.

“As we look towards the future, it’s certainly something that the U.K. government and fire and rescue services need to consider,” he said. “Have we got the capability, the assets, to be able to meet what is a significantly emerging demand?”

Wildfires continue to spread destruction in other parts of Europe. Nearly 500 firefighters struggled to contain a large wildfire that threatened hillside suburbs outside Athens for a second day as fires burned across a southern swath of the continent.

A respite from the severe heat helped improve conditions in France, Spain and Portugal, countries that have battled blazes for days.

Britain’s travel network also suffered during the hot weather, with Luton Airport briefly shut down by a heat-damaged runway and trains forced to run at reduced speeds because of concerns the heat would warp rails or interrupt power supplies.

Some disruptions remained Wednesday, with the main train line from London to Edinburgh closed as crews worked to repair power lines and signaling equipment damaged by fire.

Among those stranded was Lee Ball, 46, who was trying to travel with his wife, Libby, and 10-year-old daughter, Amelie, from Worcestershire to London to get to Brussels for an Ed Sheeran concert. Their train was cancelled with less than 30 minutes notice, so they drove to another station — and waited.

“I’ve been up since 4:30 a.m., anxious, trying to get an answer from anywhere we can,” he said.

Communication from the train companies has been “appalling,” he said.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Hoover Dam Transformer Explodes; No One Hurt

By Associated Press
July 19, 2022

No one was hurt in the explosion near the base of the dam.

A transformer exploded Tuesday at Hoover Dam, one of the nation’s largest hydroelectric facilities, producing a thick cloud of black smoke and flames that were quickly extinguished.

No one was hurt in the explosion near the base of the dam, an engineering marvel on the Colorado River that straddles the border of Arizona and Nevada. Electricity continued to flow to 1.3 million people in Arizona, Nevada and Southern California

The cause of the fire was under investigation and officials were working to determine the extent of damage to the transformer, one of 15 at the complex that control the voltages for power sent to customers.

“There is no risk to the power grid,” said Jacklynn Gould, a regional director for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The fire ignited around 10 a.m. and was out within a half-hour, Gould said in a statement. It captured the attention of tourists who quickly started recording and sharing video on social media.

William Herro, 13, of San Francisco, was on a viewing bridge with his parents when he saw the explosion and then heard a “big boom.”

“A ton of black smoke just exploded in the air. It looked almost like a mushroom and then a fire followed,” Herro said. “I was really surprised and I started filming.”

The explosion occurred on the apron of a building housing turbines that is slightly downstream from the base of the dam, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Las Vegas. Hoover Dam is one of the tallest dams in the U.S. at 726 feet (221 meters). Each of its 17 generators can supply electricity to 100,000 households.

As many as 20,000 vehicles a day drive across the wide top of the dam, which is a National Historic Landmark and is seen in films including “Transformers” and “Fools Rush In.”

The Bureau of Reclamation owns and operates the dam, powerhouses and turbines. The power produced at the site is transferred to a substation where it’s marketed through the Western Area Power Administration.

Hoover Dam is considered a baseload source of power, meaning it can respond quickly to the need for additional power on the grid or dial back supply.

The fire triggered an alert at the Western Area Power Administration’s control center in Phoenix. Spokesman Lisa Meiman said while the loss of a transformer or other equipment on power generating stations can put pressure on a grid, “no single source is integral to the health of the power grid.”

Hydropower from both Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam upstream have been threatened lately by the declining levels of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two largest human-made reservoirs in the U.S. that hold water from the Colorado River.

Federal officials have taken action in recent years to prop up the lakes to preserve the dams’ ability to generate power and keep water flowing to the Western states and Mexico that rely on it. Drought and climate change have sunk the lakes to their lowest levels in decades.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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U.K. Breaks Record For Highest Temperature Amid European Heat Wave

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff

and John Bevir
July 19, 2022

The U.K. Met Office registered a provisional reading of 104.4 degrees Fahrenheit at Heathrow Airport, breaking the 101.7 F Britain recorded in 2019.

Britain shattered its record for highest temperature ever registered Tuesday amid a heat wave that has seared swaths of Europe — and the national weather forecaster predicted it would get hotter still in a country ill prepared for such extremes.

The typically temperate nation was just the latest to be walloped by unusually hot, dry weather that has triggered wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans and led to hundreds of heat-related deaths. Images of flames racing toward a French beach and Britons sweltering — even at the seaside — have driven home concerns about climate change.

The U.K. Met Office registered a provisional reading of 104.4 degrees Fahrenheit at Heathrow Airport in early afternoon — breaking the record set just an hour earlier and with hours of intense sunshine still to go. Before Tuesday, the highest temperature recorded in Britain was 101.7 F, set in 2019.

The sweltering weather has disrupted travel, health care and schools in a country not prepared for such extremes. Many homes, small businesses and even public buildings, including hospitals, don’t even have air conditioning, a reflection of how unusual such heat is in the country better known for rain and mild temperatures.

The intense heat since Monday has damaged the runway at London’s Luton airport, forcing it to shut for several hours, and warped a main road in eastern England, leaving it looking like a “skatepark,” police said. Major train stations were shut or near-empty on Tuesday, as trains were canceled or ran at low speeds out of concern rails could buckle.

A huge chunk of England, from London in the south to Manchester and Leeds in the north, remained under the country’s first “red” warning for extreme heat Tuesday, meaning there is danger of death even for healthy people.

Such dangers could be seen in Britain and around Europe. At least six people were reported to have drowned across the U.K. in rivers, lakes and reservoirs while trying to cool off. Meanwhile, nearly 750 heat-related deaths have been reported in Spain and neighboring Portugal in the heat wave there.

Climate experts warn that global warming has increased the frequency of extreme weather events, with studies showing that the likelihood of temperatures in the U.K. reaching 104 F is now 10 times higher than in the pre-industrial era.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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