Heat wave in Europe, UK and the USA and snowfall and high wind speeds for South Africa
While Europe is facing another heatwave and the UK all-time high temperatures, South Africa is bracing itself against widespread snowfall, low temperatures and high wind speeds with torrential rain in Cape Town. The South African Weather Service (SAWS) had on Monday forecasted strong to gale force winds with wind speeds of between 65km and 75km expected for Cape Town and surrounds as two cold fronts set in the metropole. The City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management Centre is coordinating the city’s response to incidents reported during the most recent heavy weather episode.
The Disaster Operations Centre logged 43 flooding-related incidents ie 122 power outages across the metropole, nine incidents of trees that had blown over or fallen branches and two incidents where roofs were blown off in Masiphumelele and Burundi informal settlement. Floods have been reported in a number of informal settlements such as Masiphumelele, Imizamo Yethu, Khayelitsha, Burundi, Nomzamo and Wallacedene with 3 460 structures affected. A number of fallen trees were also reported in Parow, Parow, Edgemead, Crawford, Panorama, Durbanville and Brackenfell. Roads were flooded across the Cape Town most notably in Wallacedene, other roads in Pelican Park, Ottery and Diep River. Power outages occurred in Strand, Bonteheuwel, Observatory, Noordhoek, Joe Slovo Park, Athlone, Wynberg, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Sunnydale, Rondebosch, Philippi, Mitchells Plain, Hout Bay and Plumstead. Emergency sheltering was made available to the affected communities.
Another heatwave is set to engulf parts of central and northern Europe this week, bringing expected record-breaking temperatures after a similar weather event in June. The UK's Met Office said on Monday, 22 July 2019, that the country's all-time temperature record could be broken by Thursday, surpassing the high of 38,5 degrees Celsius recorded in Kent in August 2003. Paul Gundersen, the Met Office's chief meteorologist, said the setup was “broadly similar” to the June heatwave, when an area of hot air moving north from the Sahara desert embraced parts of the continent. He added: “As well as high temperatures during the day, overnight temperatures will also be notably warm and could also break records.” This time around, the hot air is moving north from the Iberian peninsula.
Europe is bracing for another blistering heat wave, less than a month after record-breaking temperatures scorched the continent. According to forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Europe could see temperatures reaching as high as 40 degrees Celsius in some areas on Wednesday and Thursday next week. Some areas could be as much as 12 Celsius hotter than usual for this time of year.
France's forecasting service, Meteo France, warned that temperatures in central regions of the country could hit highs of 41 Celsius. Record-breaking temperatures also hit France on Thursday, although they are not expected to reach the all-time high of 46 degrees Celsius, which was felt last month. But forecasters say the latest heatwave could topple Paris' temperature record of 40,4 degrees Celsius, which was reached in 1947 and could also fall in other cities including Bourges, Lille and Reims. France is currently struggling with a drought due to a dry period felt since the last heatwave, which is expected to be further aggravated this week. Meanwhile, orange weather alerts, the second highest alert, have been put in place across 59 departments in the country in preparation for the scorching heat.
In Portugal, more than 1 000 fire fighters are battling to control a wildfire in the Castelo Branco region, which has injured 39 people. Authorities said on Tuesday, 23 July 2019, that 90 percent of the fire in the region had been brought under control but continued high temperatures could make conditions “very complicated”.
Copernicus, the European Commission's emergency management service, released a map on Monday, 22 July 2019, depicting current wildfire risks across Europe, with parts of Spain, Portugal and Italy reaching a “very high danger” alert. Belgium, Germany and Switzerland are also expected to feel the effects of the recent heatwave and, unlike June, Scandinavian countries will too.
Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University in Germany, shared NASA’s global mean temperature for June 2019, the hottest June on record to date.
So wherever you find yourself this weekend, stay safe!
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