Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

A police officer givers water to a British soldier wearing a traditional bearskin hat, on guard duty outside Buckingham Palace, during hot weather in London, Monday, July 18, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

From a usually-temperate Britain to Europe’s blistering southern nations, people across the continent are trying to stay cool amid sweltering temperatures.

In the UK—where the country’s weather organization issued its first ever “red” warning for extreme heat—parks and roads were bare as many sought shade indoors. Guards at Buckingham Palace weren’t spared the soaring temperatures, breaking their usual stoicism for sips of water. For the first time on record, temperatures went above 40 C (104 F) in England on Tuesday.

Those who intended to travel suffered travel disruptions, with several train lines unable to cope with the unusually hot weather. Staff greeted passengers with bottles of water at some of London’s major railway stations.

The record-breaking heat and dry weather triggered wildfires across the south of the continent and hundreds of heat-related deaths. At least six people were reported to have drowned in the UK while trying to cool off.

Water levels are dangerously low in reservoirs in northern Britain, while southern nations in Europe are experiencing drought—creating optimal conditions for wildfires to continue to spread. Climate experts warn that heat waves are getting more frequent, lasting longer and are more intense because of global warming.

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    Traffic crosses a bridge at Woodhead Reservoir in West Yorkshire, England, Monday, July 18, 2022, as water levels dip dangerously low amid record high temperatures in the UK. Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    People paddle on the river Spree and pass the Badeschiff, Bathing Ship, pool in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    Swimmers walk on the Le Moulleau pier in Arcachon, southwestern France Monday July 18, 2022, as a large cloud of black smoke laden with ashes coming from a giant wildfire consuming the thousand-year-old forest bordering the Dune du Pilat fills the sky. Credit: AP Photo/Sophie Garcia

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A railway worker hands out bottles of water to passengers at King’s Cross railway station where there are train cancellations due to the heat in London, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    People take part during the annual water fight in the streets of the Vallecas neighborhood of Madrid, Spain, Sunday, July 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    Kids jump from a bridge to swim in the Canal St. Martin, during a heat wave in Paris, Monday, July 18, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Lewis Joly

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A rider tucks an ice pack made with women’s nylon stockings under his jersey during the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 178.5 kilometers (111 miles) with start in Carcassonne and finish in Foix, France, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Cole

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    People queue outside an ice cream van in St. James’s Park, in London, Monday, July 18, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    People escape the heat wave by taking a barbecue in a river near the village of Luss in Argyll and Bute on the west bank of Loch Lomond, Scotland, Monday July 18, 2022. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA via AP

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A man refreshes his face at a fountain in Trafalgar Square in central London, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Credit: Aaron Chown/PA via AP

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A woman holds an umbrella to shelter from the sun during a hot sunny day in Madrid, Spain, Monday, July 18, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    People relax on a boat on the lake in the Retiro park in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, July 16, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Paul White

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    Members of the Australian cabaret and Circus troupe cool down in a fountain on the Southbank in London, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A man uses a newspaper as a fan while traveling on the Bakerloo line in central London during a heat wave, Monday, July 18, 2022. Credit: Yui Mok/PA via AP

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A man sits under an umbrella to shelter himself from the sun while begging for money in the street during hot weather in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, July 16, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Paul White

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A man rests on a bench while cooling himself with water from a public sprinkler on a hot and sunny day in Barcelona, ​​Spain, Saturday, July 16, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A man shields his eyes from the sun as he sunbathes backdropped by Tower Bridge in London, Tuesday July 19, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Tony Hicks

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A tourist uses a fan to shade her face from the sun whilst waiting to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace, during hot weather in London, Monday, July 18, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    A man uses cool morning hours for a run on a small road in the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, July 18, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Michael Probst

  • Europe seeks to stay cool in record-breaking heat

    People sit covering their heads from the sun after a scaled down version of the Changing of the Guard ceremony took place outside Buckingham Palace, during hot weather in London, Monday, July 18, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

At the Tour de France, which is currently in a more mountainous stage of the race, riders attached ice packs under their clothing to beat the weather. Beaches in southwest France were covered in thick smoke from nearby wildfires.

Those who did brace the heat took to rivers, lakes or swimming pools or shaded themselves with umbrellas in an attempt to stay cool. But in many places, even the seaside was too hot for many.

In Germany, which is also searing from high temperatures, some people took to exercising in the early morning hours, before the heat took full effect. Spain’s annual water fight saw hundreds flock to the streets of Madrid to get soaked in water.

Weather forecasts offer some consolation for those enduring the blistering sun, with temperatures expected to ease Tuesday and rain expected late in the day.


Europe broils in heat wave that fuels fires in France, Spain


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