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HEAT WAVE | Europe

Europe battles one of most intense heat waves in history

Dr. Mario Picazo
Meteorologist, PhD

Monday, July 23, 2018, 14:24 - Late-spring and the first stretch of the summer have been exceptionally warm and dry in some areas of northern Europe. The weather across the northern part of the continent from Scandinavia to Russia, has been ruled, off and on, by a very a persistent high pressure ridge that has no intention of leaving this week.

The intense heat and the lack of precipitation is also causing the drought scenario to worsen. Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland, Poland, the British Isles and the Baltic Republics are living some of the most extreme conditions. This very warm dry weather has also been accompanied on occasions by gusty winds, causing intense fast-moving wildfires especially in Sweden (see video above).

Image courtesy of Europe Drought Monitor.

RELATED: Evacuation orders as Ontario's wildfires keep spreading

The European Union Drought Monitoring site also points out that as the heat and lack of precipitation continue, there is a potential risk for agricultural drought to occur. Farmers in Germany and Sweden are already struggling with a parched harvest as above normal temperatures go on. Some areas in east Germany have yet to see noteable rain since April, the worst in living history some farmers say.

Meteosat Image showing how dry the landscape looks over Great Britain – May 2018 right vs July 2018 left

The first half of summer, June 1st through July 16th, has been the driest in modern record history for the U.K. But the heat wave is expected to continue into August with temperatures above 30oC (86oF) and that could extend the record period even further.


Below normal precipitation and above normal heat is expected across those countries currently affected by the heat wave during the last part of July and into early August. Positive temperature anomalies of 10 to 20oF are forecast from France and the U.K. into Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland and most of Scandinavia. 

Temperature anomaly July 24. Courtesy: WxBell

It is not usual to see similar temperature values in the north and south of the continent. Countries like Germany, Holland, Belgium, Sweden and Norway will be seeing similar temperatures to those registered in commonly warmer areas like Spain, Italy, Greece or Turkey.

Meanwhile much of southern Europe is experiencing cooler than normal weather with hefty thunderstorms moving across the region. This week will be again marked by high pressure across much of the continent meaning that the dry weather will go on.


Thumbnail image courtesy: Twitter/@WillWilkesBBG

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