London’s scorching underground system is sounding the alarm in the face of brutal European heat

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Intense heat caused London’s Luton Airport to halt flights for runway repairs, while Wales set a new record and Ireland recorded its hottest temperature in more than a century. Hot and dry conditions in countries unaccustomed to scorching weather are raising concern across the region about the impact of climate change.

After deadly forest fires in Portugal and Spain, extreme summer weather caused the Rhine, Europe’s most important river, to fall further, jeopardizing coal and oil supplies to power plants and industrial plants in Germany.

“The climate crisis is worsening worldwide,” German Economics Minister Robert Habeck said on Monday, releasing a study showing extreme weather events have cost Europe’s largest economy over 80 billion euros ($81 billion) in recent years.

The damage count for this summer has just started. More than 600 people have died across the region, and large parts of France, Italy and Greece are at extreme wildfire risk. The European Union has sent three planes to fight forest fires – two to Portugal and one to Slovenia.

“This is not the result of a small dry spell,” said Mark Parrington, senior scientist at the Atmosphere Monitoring Service of Europe’s Earth observation agency Copernicus. “It’s been years in these dry conditions.”

Amid concerns about food shortages due to the Russian war in Ukraine, performance in crops such as corn was hit, causing Paris futures to gain 10% since the beginning of the month.

Here is a summary of some of the countries most affected by the current heatwave in Europe:

United Kingdom

Temperatures in London and southern England could hit a record-breaking 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) this week. Trains on London’s Central and Northern lines rose to 37 degrees Celsius on Monday morning, more than the maximum temperature for transporting farm animals such as cows, pigs and goats under UK regulations, according to Bloomberg.

According to retail data from Springboard, more people were working from home and avoiding commutes, with footfall in shopping districts near offices in London down by 18%. According to Transport for London, tube journeys were about the same as last Monday.

About a third of UK rail services will not operate and those that do will face restrictions due to the heat, Network Rail spokesman Kevin Groves said. That means a journey from London to York would take four and a half hours, more than double the normal time.

The east coast main line from London to Edinburgh will be closed between 12pm and 8pm on Tuesday because the line cannot tolerate temperatures above 38 degrees Celsius due to wooden foundations and the 1980s construction of the catenary.

The Royal Air Force halted flights at its largest airbase because the runway had “melted”, Sky News reported.

Exceptional, perhaps record-breaking, temperatures are likely Monday and then again Tuesday, the Met Office said. Record-breaking temperatures in London will continue into Monday night as London is likely to experience its hottest night on record.

Read more: London for baking at 40 degrees heat. To get used to something

Some companies in the UK have kept employees at home to avoid hot commutes and suffocating workplaces. Gymshark Ltd, which makes workout clothes and employs nearly 700 people in the UK, gave its employees Friday and Monday off, calling it a reward for good performance. Similarly, Blackburn-based beverage exporter Sovereign Beverage Co. Ltd. his weekend break until Monday.

Spain

The heatwave killed 360 people in Spain between July 10 and 15, the Instituto de Salud Carlos III said on Saturday. June was the deadliest month in two years. 830 people died, although the country was used to such temperatures.

“Climate change kills. It kills people, it kills our ecosystem and it destroys affected people’s most valuable possessions,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez during a visit to the fire-ravaged province of Caceres on the Portuguese border. “We cannot deviate from our commitment to mitigation and adaptation to climate change.”

Unions are demanding stricter rules to protect workers’ health. There is currently no maximum temperature regulation for people working outdoors.

During the peak of the heatwave in central Madrid last week, construction workers could be seen napping in cranes and heavy machinery during the hottest hours of the day to escape the heat. High temperatures in the Spanish capital are expected to remain around 40 degrees this week.

At least two people died in the fires in Spain, according to authorities in the Castilla y Leon region. The body of a 69-year-old man was found in a burnt area in Zamora province on Monday, and a volunteer firefighter died on Sunday while helping to put out a blaze in the same region.

Italy

Italy is also preparing for temperatures of up to 40 degrees this week, including in the financial capital of Milan. Record temperatures this month have already caused a glacial ice shelf to fall from the top of Mount Marmolada, killing 11 people.

Lombardy’s regional climate agency near Milan has issued a warning over ozone levels and advised children, the elderly and those with breathing problems to stay indoors during the hotter hours. In the region, local farmers’ association Coldiretti reported that vegetables, including melons and green peppers, were scorched by the heat.

Italy is experiencing an “extreme drought”, according to the National Research Council’s Drought Observatory, with its main river, the Po, at its lowest level in 70 years. The dry weather creates perfect conditions for the rapid spread of forest fires.

Portugal

As of Monday morning, about 1,100 firefighters were still dealing with fires in Portugal, which has seen over 200 more deaths than normal since the last heat wave began.

But there are signs of progress. The fires have subsided since last week and the government downgraded the situation to “alert level” on Sunday, with temperatures set to drop.

The move eases resource constraints and allows some farmers and rural communities to gradually return to normal. Grains can now be harvested in the early morning and evening hours, according to the government website.

This story was published from a wire agency feed with no changes to the text.

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