Computer weather models are showing the buildup of an extreme heat wave for Central Europe and Russia at the end of this week. Temperatures over large areas may hit 45C in places that normally experience much milder summers. The charts below from the US Navy’s supercomputer models show the areas affected. Please use caution during the heat wave. Infants, children, the elderly and people with chronic or long-term medical conditions, such as a heart condition or breathing problems are most at risk and should not be left unattended for any length of time.
USE EXTREME CAUTION when handling fire as forests are likely to be tinder dry and susceptible to the kind of massive wildfires seen in Russia in 2003 and in Canada this year.
In August 2003, more than 30,000 people died after a record-breaking heatwave left Europe sweltering. That heatwave was thought to be the warmest for up to 500 years, and many European countries experienced their highest temperatures on record. Thousands died in France as the temperature rose to 40C. This heatwave may be worse as temperatures could reach 45C as the effects of this year’s El Nino event and the effects of global warming are likely to have increased the severity level substantially.
The NHS in the UK Advises:
- Avoid unnecessary travel.
- Visit or phone people who are vulnerable, such as older people living on their own or people with health conditions.
- Stay inside and in the coolest room in your home as much as possible, and splash yourself with cool water.
- Keep rooms cool by using shade or reflective material outside the glass; if that’s not possible, have light-coloured curtains and close them (metal blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
- Keep the windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside, and, if it’s safe, open the windows at night when the air is cooler than the room.
- Help others: check up on neighbours, relatives and friends who may be less able to look after themselves (for example, if they have mobility problems).
It is more important to keep yourself and others cool if you or they have a heart or respiratory condition. If symptoms become worse, seek medical advice.
- Drink water or fruit juice regularly.
- Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol, and if you do drink alcohol make sure you have water or other non-alcoholic drinks too.
Other tips for staying cool in a heatwave can be found at http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=63080
For the symptoms and treatment of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke, see: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heat-exhaustion-and-heatstroke/Pages/Introduction.aspx
These are the forecast charts showing the approximate areas that may be affected over the week. Also be aware that further heatwaves are possible as the summer progresses.
Remember, this may be the first of several extreme heatwaves to hit Europe this year. Be prepared.