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Heat Wave Returns to Spain as Storm Hans Batters Nordic Region

2023-08-07 17:20
Extreme heat is returning to southern Europe this week, with the potential for record temperatures in parts of
Heat Wave Returns to Spain as Storm Hans Batters Nordic Region

Extreme heat is returning to southern Europe this week, with the potential for record temperatures in parts of Spain, while further north a destructive storm is lashing the Nordic region.

The countryside around Seville could exceed 44C (111F) on Wednesday, according to Spain’s national forecaster. The new blast of heat will increase wildfire risks, after all-time highs in Catalonia last month were followed by blazes that ripped through over 430 hectares of woodland.

Cyprus appealed to the European Union to help quell a major fire that broke out Friday in the Alassa dam area north of the city of Limassol. The wildfire, which forced the evacuation of three villages, was receding on Monday after burning 10 square kilometers. Planes continue to drop water as high winds bring the risk of flare-ups this afternoon.

The world’s hottest ever month in July saw searing heat, fires and flooding across the Northern Hemisphere from the US to China. Scientists say that would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, but efforts to curb the use of fossil fuels fall well short of what’s required to address a rapidly warming planet.

In Greece, where wildfires triggered the evacuation of thousands of tourists from the island of Rhodes last month, firefighters brought 70 wildfires under control over the weekend. Still, five regions including Greater Athens are on high alert as winds strengthen on Tuesday.

Read more: Wildfire Risk Climbs for Spain as Heat Wave Moves to Iberia

As the heat builds over Iberia, northwest Europe remains cooler than the seasonal norm. Temperatures in London will drop as low as 10.5C on Monday, with Paris falling to 11C, according to Maxar Technologies Inc.

Further north, Storm Hans — named by the Norwegian weather service — lashed the Nordic region on Monday, disrupting air traffic, ferries and caused widespread flooding. Red warnings were issued for high water levels on Tuesday and Wednesday in southern Sweden.

The wind is so strong that power for delivery on Monday is almost free in large parts of the region, with the average price slumping 91% to €1.64 per megawatt-hour. At the same time, almost 20,000 homes suffered a power cut in the Gavleborg region of Sweden, before electricity supplies were restored to most of them.

Polferries, which operates between Sweden and Poland, shut its service for the rest of Monday, while there were huge delays at Arlanda, Stockholm’s main airport. Airport operator Avinor, which oversees 43 airports in Norway, warned passengers to expect delays due to “extreme weather.”

Norway’s Water Resources and Energy Directorate raised the flood and landslide threat to the highest level for a large area between Oslo and Trondheim. Between 8 and 10 centimeters (4 inches) of rain is forecast in the 24 hours from Monday afternoon, with about 15 centimeters forecast over the two days, according to Norway’s Meteorological Institute.

“This is a very rare and serious situation that may lead to extensive consequences and damage,” NVE landslide expert Siri Ane Hestad said Monday.

--With assistance from Kari Lundgren and Sanne Wass.

Author: Ellie Harmsworth, Lars Paulsson and Paul Tugwell