Two years ago, the UK Met office produced an evening news weather segment-style PSA on what climate-driven extreme heat would mean for the country in 2050, with a mock forecast of extreme heat of 40°C (104°F) in London. On Friday, the forecast came true 28 years early as the UK declared a national emergency and the Met Office issued its first-ever red extreme heat warning as temperatures there could break records by topping out at 41°C (106°F). The declarations mean train lines will be slowed, schools will close early, and some hospital appointments will be canceled to accommodate the expected heat impacts, which officials warn can cause illness and even thousands of deaths like the heatwave in 2003 that killed 15,000 people, many of them elderly and living in homes without air conditioning.
Across continental Europe, extreme heat is threatening human health and fueling wildfires from Portugal to Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. “Climate change affects everyone,” Miguel Angel Tamayo, forced to evacuate from his home in Spain’s Jerte valley, told Reuters. French cyclist Thibaut Pinot described the temperatures as “a furnace” as Tour de France organizers prepared to dump tens of thousands of liters of water on roads to prevent the asphalt from getting so hot it melts.
(UK: BBC, Washington Post $, BBC, The Guardian, New York Times $, Yale Climate Connections, USA Today, Bloomberg $, Bloomberg $, CNN, FT $, Washington Post $, FT $, Wall Street Journal $, Bloomberg $, HuffPost, CNN, AP, CNBC, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg $; 2050 PSA: CNN; Europe: Bloomberg $, Weather Channel, New York Times $, Wall Street Journal $, Reuters; Wildfires: BBC, Reuters, Washington Post $, BBC, The Guardian, AP, BBC, AP, Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Guardian, AP, Axios, New York Times $, AP; Tour de France: AFP, VeloNews, CyclingTips, CyclingTips; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves)