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Heat wave brings deaths, fires to Europe

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 6/28/19, 10:29 am

A record heat wave across Europe killed at least three people by Friday and triggered a wildfire. Meteorologists said the temperatures could rise further over the weekend.

The French national weather service issued a rare red alert warning in four southern regions, while the majority of the rest of the country remains on orange alert, the second highest level. It’s the first time weather officials issued the highest alert since 2003, when an estimated 15,000 people died from a summer heat wave. About 4,000 schools remained closed across the country, and authorities also postponed middle school exams to next week.

Towns in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland recorded record temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In the Spanish province of Andalusia, a 17-year-old boy died from heatstroke early on Friday. An 80-year-old man also died of suspected heatstroke in the city of Valladolid, and a 72-year-old homeless man died in the Italian city of Milan.

In Spain, hundreds of firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in Catalonia that could burn up to 50,000 acres. Officials said they think the fire started when a pile of manure self-ignited in the heat.

“A heat wave of this amplitude so early in the year, in June, is exceptional,” said Christelle Robert, a meteorologist with the French national weather service. She blamed the extreme weather on climate change and told residents to expect more intense and frequent heat waves.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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