Europe to simmer in ‘heatwave’ this week

Speak to someone accustomed to the searing summer temperatures of the Arabian Peninsula about the heatwave expected to spread across Europe this week, and they will probably sniff at it with disdain and exclaim incredulously, “What, a ‘heatwave’ from a mild 40 degrees C.”

The snide comment aside, pale-faced Europeans can expect to be ‘grilled’ by temperatures predicted to reach around 40C in parts of France, Germany, Italy and Spain this week. According to meteorologists, long accustomed to being ridiculed for their predictions, hot winds from the Sahara, having depleted much of its fury on North Africa, are likely to make landfall in Europe on Wednesday and spread across the continent later.

The relatively mild ‘heatwave’ — described as likely to be “hell” by a Spanish meteorologist, and which gained an ‘orange’ heat warning in France and had the country’s president warning citizens to be ‘vigilant’ — is enough to make Europeans want to dive under covers or head to the nearest pool.

In Paris, charity organizations are reported to be patrolling the streets to provide homeless people with water, and local authorities are to open up air-conditioned centers where the public could seek shelter from the upcoming ‘heatwave’. France has also decided that it would be too hot to study for students and accordingly national exams scheduled for this week have been postponed.

FIFA said it could implement heat precautions at the Women’s World Cup, which France is hosting, over the next few days. The measures include cooling breaks during matches and postponing games if the heat becomes too intense. One wonders what the national team would do during the 2022 FIFA World Cup slated to take place in Qatar.

In Germany, where the country previous highest June temperature was 38.2C recorded in 1947, the thermometer is set to climb above 40C this week. German emergency services have warned the public to be wary of the high temperatures and in particular to take care of young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, as these groups were especially vulnerable to high temperatures.

The German newspaper Bild has warned its readers not to read the ‘hot’ news in the morning and urged them to have a siesta during the early afternoons. The paper in its infinite wisdom also advised people to put their pyjamas in the freezer to help keep cool at night.

Apparently, the heatwave also makes people suggest and do strange things. Incidentally, ‘strange’ like the ‘heatwave’ is a relative thing.