European heat wave: Airport runways melt on UK’s hottest day of the year


Airport runways in the UK have partially melted as the country grapples with an unprecedented heat wave, which saw temperatures soar above 38C on Monday.

London Luton Airport was temporarily closed to flights on Monday afternoon due to a runway fault caused by record annual temperatures.

Easyjet and Ryanair flights to Luton have been diverted to alternative airports such as Stansted. On a flight from Catania in Sicily, the captain told in-flight passengers they could not land at Luton because parts of the runway had effectively melted.

Luton announced flights were resuming at 5.40pm BST, with inbound flights resuming 15 minutes later.

Flights were also halted at the RAF’s Brize Norton airfield in Oxfordshire due to temperature-induced issues on the runway.

“Hotter than the Sahara”

In the UK, some schools and transport links were closed on Monday as the Met Office issued its first-ever ‘red’ warning for extreme heat, warning there was a ‘risk to life’.

He said Monday was the hottest day of 2022 so far after the mercury hit 38.1C at Santon Downham, Suffolk.

The office warned that temperatures could exceed +40C for the first time since records began on Tuesday, posing a risk of serious illness and even death in healthy people.

Schools in some counties in England, such as Nottinghamshire and Hampshire, were closed on Monday and will remain so tomorrow, while the train between London King’s Cross and the cities of York and Leeds (north) will not run much of the day. tuesday.

Several rail companies called on the public not to travel on Monday because the British rail network is not designed for such heat, and said they expected further major transport disruptions.

The Met Office says provisional figures show the highest temperature on record in Wales has now risen to 37.1C at Hawarden in Flintshire.

The record stood for 32 years, then dropped twice within hours.

The British record temperature is +38.7°C recorded in Cambridge in 2019.

Care homes have also been urged to take action to protect vulnerable and elderly residents who are particularly exposed to high temperatures.

Heat wave plan in France

Paris City Hall announced on Monday that it would keep parks open until midnight, create air-conditioned rooms for the public and monitor vulnerable people as temperatures could approach 40C on Tuesday.

Most of the French capital’s parks – Monceau, Montsouris, Georges-Brassens, André-Citroën, Buttes-Chaumont – will remain open until midnight, while three schoolyards and “refreshed rooms” will be open to the public on Monday and Tuesday evening.

The approximately 10,000 vulnerable people registered in Paris will be contacted by telephone to assess their state of health, said the town hall, which is mobilizing doctors and volunteers for the occasion.

In addition to the 1,200 fountains already present in Paris, around fifty misters and 35 prototype drinking and watering fountains have been deployed. These are temporarily connected to the fire hydrants.

Elsewhere in France, the Meteo France extended its heatwave red alert to more than a dozen departments, warning of “dangerous conditions of exceptional intensity”.

“Fifteen departments on the Atlantic coast are placed on heatwave red alert. Heatwave orange vigilance has been extended to the north and center of the country to a total of 51 departments,” writes Météo-France in its Monday morning bulletin.

“The heat is increasing and the heat wave is spreading across the country,” he added.

Extreme heat in Europe is being accompanied by a wildfire crisis that has prompted thousands to evacuate parts of France, Spain and Portugal.

Some 8,000 people are also “preventively evacuated” on Monday from two districts of La Teste-de-Buch (south-west), a town in the popular basin of Arcachon, affected by a huge fire for several days, on the edge of the Atlantic. .

More than 1,500 firefighters and water bombers are trying to douse the flames in the region’s dry pine forests.

Seville begins to name the heat waves

Spain has also been in the grip of a sweltering heat wave for more than a week, sparking numerous fires that have ravaged tens of thousands of hectares of land across the country.

In Spain there have been 360 heat-attributed deaths in recent weeks with temperatures reaching +46°C, while in Portugal up to 659 died last week as temperatures soared to +47°C .

On Monday, almost all of Spain remained on “extreme risk” fire alert.

The city of Seville in southern Spain has become the first city in the world to name and categorize heat waves in a bid to raise awareness of the health risks caused by extreme heat and the precautions that citizens have to take.

The experts behind the project, called proWEATHER Sevilleultimately hope that by naming the most severe heatwaves, they will save lives.

The Netherlands recorded its hottest day of the year on Monday, with temperatures reaching at least 33.6C in the southwestern town of Westdorpe.

Meanwhile, Belgium fears heat records on Tuesday, with its Royal Institute of Meteorology (RMI) predicting that the thermometer can climb up to 40°C in places.

Plans have also been drawn up for certain industries where workers are exposed to heat.

In Norway, the Meteorological Institute expects temperatures to exceed 30°C in the coming days in the south of the country. However, the national record of 35.6°C recorded in 1970 should not be beaten.

“Climate change kills”

Climate experts warn that global warming has increased the frequency of extreme weather events, with studies showing the likelihood of UK temperatures hitting +40C is now 10 times higher than in pre-industrial times.

Drought and heat waves linked to climate change have also made wildfires more difficult to fight.

“Climate change kills people (…) but also our ecosystem, our biodiversity,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday.


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