The second pulse of a historic heat wave scorched Europe on Sunday and, only now, is starting to ease. The record-setting heat, occurring unusually early in the summer, will long be remembered for its intensity and scope.
Between Wednesday and Sunday, heat records were not just broken by a hair, but in many instances were shattered by multiple degrees.
Eight European countries experienced their highest recorded June temperature, including:
- Czech Republic: 101.3 degrees (38.9 Celsius) in Doksany, breaking a record of 100.8 degrees in 2000.
- France: 114.6 degrees (45.9 Celsius) in Gallargues-le-Montueux, surpassing 111.4 degrees set in 2003. This mark is not only unprecedented for June, but also any month of the year and is known as a record.
- Germany: 103.3 degrees (39.6 Celsius) in Bernburg. The old record was 101.5 degrees set June 26 and before that 101.3 degrees in 1947.
- Luxembourg: 98.2 degrees (36.8 Celsius) in Petange, breaking the old record of 97 degrees in 2017.
- Poland: 100.8 degrees (38.2 Celsius) in Radzyn, which broke a record of 100.4 from 1935.
- Principality of Andorra: 100 degrees (37.8 Celsius) in Borda Vidal. The record had been 96.8 degrees in 1935.
Lichtenstein and Switzerland also broke their June temperature records Sunday, according to Weather Underground.
In addition to the national records set, hundreds of cities and municipalities in Western and Central Europe set June and all-time records.
On Sunday alone, more than 30 locations in Central Europe — many in Germany — set all-time heat records, Weather Underground reported.
France is now one of seven European nations to reach temperatures of at least 113 degrees (45 Celsius), according to the Australian. The other six? Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Portugal and Spain.
Germany saw two bouts of record-breaking temperatures, which first set a new mark for June in the country, then set it again.
After readings hit at least 101.5 degrees (38.6 Celsius) near Berlin on Wednesday, besting the old June mark, the blast furnace sunk south late week but returned over the weekend. The second push sent temperatures soaring even higher, to 103.3 degrees (39.6 Celsius) in Bernburg, breaking the June record set last week.
More than a dozen long-standing weather stations, including in Berlin and Frankfurt, broke all-time heat records across the country.
Farther north, the United Kingdom got in on the heat as well. London’s Heathrow Airport and other parts of the city reached 93.2 degrees (34 Celsius) this weekend, which was just shy of a June record of 96 degrees (35.6 Celsius).
In Spain, the heat contributed to one of the most substantial firestorms in two decades in Spain. Madrid broke its previous June temperature record on three straight days, Thursday to Saturday with temperatures of 104 to 106 degrees (40.3 to 41.2 Celsius).
Major fires were also reported in southern France.
At least 10 people are confirmed dead from the heat, with the toll expected to rise.
While a heat wave like this has many causes, climate change almost certainly increased its intensity.
Europe’s five hottest summers in the past 500 years have happened in the past 15 years. The World Meteorological Organization also said last week that this event is “absolutely consistent” with climate change.
In the near term, a more typical summertime pattern is expected to return to large parts of Europe. While it might trend warmer than normal, another historic surge of heat is not on the immediate horizon.