POST TIME: 27 June, 2019 01:07:34 PM
Heatwave 'hell' claims first lives as temperatures soar above 40°C across Europe
Independent Online/ The Guardian

Heatwave 'hell' claims first lives as temperatures soar above 40°C across Europe

Tourists in Rome drink from a public fountain during the unusually early summer heatwave. AFP Photo

The heatwave sweeping through Europe and likened to “hell” has claimed its first lives as temperatures surpassed 40 degrees Celsius on several parts of the continent.

Three swimmers at beaches in France are through to have died of “hydrocution” - suffering a cardiac arrest when coming into contact with water due to the temperature difference, according to local reports.

A man aged 70 died after jumping into cool water at Marseillant beach, southern France, According to Midi Libre, he was helped out and remained “very calm” but emergency service then failed to resuscitate him when he lost consciousness. Two other people died in similar circumstances of "thermic shock".

A woman, 62, died at Frontignan beach near Montpellier after “having a malaise and drowning” and a man aged 75 also died at another beach nearby called Carnon.

French firemen warned people to enter the water gradually to accustom the body to temperature changes or risk hydrocution in which blood vessels dilated by the heat contract suddenly, raising the risk of cardiac arrest.In the Baltic region of northeast Europe, crowds have flocked to lakes and rivers to cool down, leading to a spike in drownings - some also thought to be due to such thermic shocks. 

Twenty-seven people were reported to have drowned so far in Lithuania where the temperature soared to an unseasonable high of 35.7C.

In Poland, the interior ministry said that 90 people had drowned this month swimming in lakes and rivers during the exceptionally hot weather. 

Parts of Europe faced the hottest June on record in a heatwave expected to reach its peak on Thursday and Friday.

A 2,000 mile wide “Saharan bubble” is blowing hot air from Africa to Europe, including Britain after days of downpours and flooding.

Experts say such heatwaves early in the summer are likely to be more frequent as global warming kicks in in coming decades unless fossil fuels use is drastically reduced.France took the rare step of postponing school exams for 14 to 15-year-olds to next week, when temperatures of up to 40C finally start falling.

Parts of southeastern France were sweltering in 40-degree heat on yesterday, with a peak of up to 44 degrees expected on Friday.

Paris authorities have banned older models of diesel and petrol cars from Paris on Wednesday, fearing a build-up of pollution.

Public spaces such as town halls and government offices have opened up dedicated air-conditioned spaces and public pools are to stay open longer.Poland's weather institute IMGW said the highest ever June temperature was recorded yesterday in the southwest: 38.2C.

Greece was expecting the thermometre to exceed 45C.

In Spain the Aemet meteorological agency on Wednesday said there was a "significant risk" in five northern provinces with temperatures of 42C s expected.

In Germany, meanwhile, the 70-year-old record for the highest temperature recorded for June was beaten as 38.6C was recorded in Brandenburg.

Police in the area cautioned a naked man for driving his moped wearing only his helmet and sandals. He insisted he was only doing so to cool down.In Munich, security guards ordered a group of women sunbathing topless on the banks of the river Isar to cover up. The move reportedly backfired, however, when another sunbather told local media she and others took their tops off "out of solidarity".

An urgent motion was then introduced in a city council meeting to allow topless bathing.The Telegraph.