Watch CBS News

Heat wave hits France with record-setting temperatures

People cool off at the Trocadero Fountains next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on July 23, 2019 as a new heatwave hits Europe. Getty

Paris -- Trains were slowed down and holidaymakers flocked to swimming pools, beaches and lakes in western Europe on Wednesday as another heat wave set new temperature records. A host of French cities saw their highest temperatures since records began on Tuesday, with wine capital Bordeaux recording 106 Fahrenheit, beating the previous high of 105 registered in August 2003, weather service Meteo-France said.

Forecasters predicted new temperature highs in neighbouring countries Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands, where the mercury could beat the previous record of 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday, according to the Dutch weather office.

Many Dutch farmers are leaving their cows outside to sleep, rather than bringing them in at night, while some kindergartens have closed their doors because of the risks for young children.

Britain's Met Office has said there is a chance that the U.K. temperature record of 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which was recorded in Faversham, Kent, in August 2004, will also be exceeded on Thursday at the peak of the heat.

Record temperatures amid heat wave in Europe 01:41

The operator of the British rail network, Network Rail, said it was slowing down trains in response to the extreme weather, which comes only weeks after another record-breaking heatwave in Europe in June.

"Extreme heat can cause overhead wires to sag and become damaged by fast trains. We slow down services to keep passengers safe when this happens," the company said on Twitter.

Across the area affected by the unusually high heat, stretching from France up to Norway in the north, people sought out ways to cool off in lakes and rivers, leading to an increase in drowning incidents.     

Link to Climate Change?

The second heatwave in two months has amplified concerns in Europe that human activity is heating the planet at a dangerous rate.

The June 26-28 heatwave in France was 7.2 degrees hotter than an equally rare June heatwave would have been in 1900, the World Weather Attribution (WWA) team said this month. 

One study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology said the deadly, weeks-long heatwave across northern Europe in 2018 would have been statistically impossible without climate change.

Climate scientists are linking the Europe heat wave to climate change 05:50

CBS News contributing meteorologist Jeff Berardelli wrote in an article for Yale Climate Connections that heat waves are becoming more frequent around the world, and said there is convincing evidence suggesting a link to climate change.

According to NOAA's natural hazard statistics, Berardelli said extreme heat causes more deaths per year in United States than any other weather hazard. "As the climate continues to warm, that number could rise dramatically in the U.S. and around the world," he said.

Greta Thunberg takes heat in Paris

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has highlighted the problem of global warming through school strikes, told MPs at French parliament of dire consequences if "business as usual" continued until 2030.

"We will likely be in a position where we may pass a number of tipping points and we will be unable to undo the irreversible breakdown," she said on Tuesday during a visit to the French parliament.

Teen activist Greta Thunberg on plans for strike against climate change 04:06

Many conservative figures on the French right criticised the invitation, dismissing her as a "prophetess in shorts" and the "Justin Bieber of ecology" and refused to attend the speech.

Thunberg accused politicians, business leaders and journalists of failing to communicate the scientific truth as shown in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and leaving the burden to children.

"We become the bad guys who have to tell people these uncomfortable things because no one else wants to, or dares to," said Thunberg, speaking in English at one of the parliament's conference rooms.

"And just for quoting or acting on these numbers, these scientific facts, we receive unimaginable amounts of hate and threats. We are being mocked and lied about by members of parliament and journalists," she added.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.