England to declare first-ever Level Four national heat emergency as climate change bakes Europe

England to declare first-ever Level Four national heat emergency as climate change bakes Europe
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The British Cabinet Office is preparing to issue its first-ever Level Four, or amber, national heat emergency as the mercury swells across the Western half of Europe.

"Meteorologists are warning of one of the most significant heat waves in western Europe in over 200 years, or a few decades before the Declaration of Independence was signed. The long-duration, extreme weather event could turn deadly across the continent," AccuWeather warned.

Temperatures in the United Kingdom are expected to top 40 degrees Celsius – 104 degrees Fahrenheit – by the end of the weekend, The Independent reported on Friday. The announcement, the outlet noted, "comes as the Met Office issued a rare red warning for many parts of England which means the extreme weather could lead to 'serious illness or danger to life.'"

The Meteorological Office is predicting “exceptional, perhaps record-breaking, temperatures” that are 'likely to lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure," The Independent wrote, adding that the United Kingdom Health Security Agency warned that “illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy."

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The Met Office said that "population-wide adverse health effects are likely to be experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to potential serious illness or danger to life. Significantly more people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers leading to increased risk of water safety incidents."

Great Britain is not the only European nation facing lethally hot weather.

Cities throughout Portugal and Spain are sizzling under record-shattering heat, CNN reported on Friday:

In northwest Spain, the city of Ourense set its all-time temperature record of 43.2 degrees Celsius (109.76 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, according to Spain's meteorological agency, AEMET.
On Wednesday, Zamora set its own record after reaching 41.1 degrees Celsius (105.98 degrees Fahrenheit), according to climate statistician Max Herrera. Soria set a record of 38.7 degrees Celsius (101.66 degrees Fahrenheit) that same day.
The central Portuguese town of Lousã set an all-time record of 46.3 degrees Celsius (115.34 degrees Fahrenheit) and Lisbon set a July record of 41.4 degrees Celsius (106.52 degrees Fahrenheit).

Relief, authorities cautioned, is not on the immediate horizon.

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"Temperatures are set to reach around 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of western and southern Spain, according to AEMET. In its afternoon update, AEMET warned that Spain is set to experience its hottest day of the heat wave on Thursday," per CNN.

According to AccuWeather, "the AccuWeather LocalMax™ Temperature is 120 F (49 C) in southwestern Spain. For comparison, temperatures typically top out near 118 F (48 C) in Death Valley in July. That temperature in Spain could occur on Friday."

The searing heat has also sparked massive wildfires across the entire continent.

"Around 3,500 firefighters in Portugal are battling dozens of blazes, as temperatures break records in various parts of the country," reported the British Broadcasting Corporation. "In Turkey, more than 3,000 people have been evacuated because of a wildfire in the south-western Datca peninsula."

In France, where a mustard shortage is worsening due to climate change's devastating effect on Canada's summer harvest, "more than 6,500 people have been evacuated from their homes and campsites as wildfires rage in the country's southwestern regions, according to regional police on Thursday," CNN reported. "More than 9,000 acres have been destroyed by two large forest fires in the Gironde department, according to a statement published by the department's police."

Nations and regions further to the East will not be spared nature's wrath. "This includes the valleys of Hungary, eastern Croatia, eastern Bosnia, Serbia, southern Romania, and northern Bulgaria," AccuWeather said.

"Heatwaves have become more frequent, more intense, and longer-lasting because of climate change," noted the BBC. "The world has already warmed by about 1.1C since the industrial era began."

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