Western Europe faces extreme heat: warnings, protocols and emergency advice | Domestically

Record temperatures are forecast for Monday and especially Tuesday and with France and Spain in mind, countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands are bracing for the heat ahead. They do this with warnings, protocols and emergency meetings and sometimes with fear and trepidation.

Warm Spanish and French winds are approaching us. According to the KNMI, temperatures will reach 38 degrees in some places in the Netherlands on Tuesday. Monday will be around 30 degrees. The KNMI thinks there is a good chance that the southern part of the country will be issued a code yellow on Tuesday due to the heat. Code Orange applies in some provinces.

Rijkswaterstaedt will therefore institute a heat protocol from 10am on Monday. Due to this, people who have bad luck on the roadside will be removed soon. According to the organization, asphalt temperatures can rise above 50 degrees on tropical days. ,, If you unexpectedly end up on the side of the road with misfortune, you can quickly become very hot. As advised by the Rijkswaterstaat, a few water bottles are definitely not an unnecessary luxury.

Along with the advice to carry enough cold water bottles with you, the Rijkswaterstaat also advises keeping an umbrella ready in the car. “There is little shadow on the road.” If the sun is shining at such a temperature, “an umbrella will be very useful.” The Rijkswaterstaat expects the heat to cause problems on several bridges, which will be cooled by water to prevent them from opening.

Bathers seek refreshment on Scheveningen Beach. © ANP

National Heating Scheme

Meanwhile, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is making preparations to introduce a national heating scheme. It helps prevent dehydration and overheating, among other things. This mainly concerns the elderly, children, the chronically ill, residents of care homes and people living in social isolation. Spain and Portugal reported hundreds of deaths from the heat on Saturday, especially the elderly who were already debilitated by illnesses and high temperatures (up to 46 degrees). At least 360 people have died in Spain and more than 200 in Portugal.

The objective of the National Heating Scheme is to drink enough and ventilate the house in the morning. The project was first launched fifteen years ago.

Rob Engler
© Rob Engelar

It was an exciting day for four days of parades

Sunday is an exciting day for Nijmegen’s four days of parades. At 13.00, its own meteorological team, comprising a meteorologist and an exercise physiologist and regional health service GHOR, will provide advice on the organization of the four-day event, which begins on Tuesday. How to cope with hot weather?

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Bringing up start times, shortening routes, reversing or canceling? An hour later, a press conference will announce what measures are being taken to deal with the predicted heat.

Walkers on day three of the 102nd edition of the Nijmegen Four Days of March in 2008.
Walkers on day three of the 102nd edition of the Nijmegen Four Days of March in 2008. © ANP / ANP

GGDs close testing and vaccination sites early
Due to high temperatures forecast after the weekend, many GDs have adjusted the opening hours of testing and vaccination sites. Some locations will be closed completely due to the expected heat.

GGD Drenthe, GGD Zaanstreek-Waterland, GGD Gelderland-Midden and GGD Utrecht Region warn of the changed opening hours on their website. In Utrecht, several testing and vaccination sites will be closed completely for one or more days as a precaution. Opening hours of many places have changed.

Drenthe moves appointments scheduled in the afternoon from Monday to Wednesday. GGD Zaanstreek-Waterland is changing the start time of the testing and vaccination location at the event site in Purmerend on Mondays and Tuesdays. GGD Gelderland-Midden also warns that some fixed locations will close earlier than usual. “Because high heat and sensible vaccination don’t go together.”

Belgium

Neighboring Belgium’s Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) expects Monday and Tuesday to be very hot, reaching a high of 35 degrees on Monday and possibly even 39 degrees in many places. For Monday, code orange applies across the country, except for the coast and the provinces of Liège and Namur. On Tuesday, Code Orange will apply across the country.

Code Orange in Belgium means everyone must take action. They are: drink regularly, dress lightly, seek cool rooms during the day, check your health regularly, choose easily digestible food in small portions, and finally keep windows and doors closed to prevent heat from entering.

Belgian carrier NMBS has canceled 34 trains from Tuesday’s schedule due to the heat expected in the country. These trains usually run during peak hours. As a precautionary measure, additional personnel will also be deployed on Tuesday to deal with any breakdowns or other issues on the track. Any rail material that is highly sensitive to extreme heat will not be used on the day. Non-running trains are parked outside in full sun during the day.

NMPS says these measures are necessary to run trains safely and provide greater comfort to passengers. The carrier advises passengers to use the itinerary before departure. Other advice is to drink enough water, work from home if possible and travel outside during emergency hours.

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A train at Nivelles station in Belgium.
A train at Nivelles station in Belgium. © Belka

United Kingdom

The British Meteorological Agency, comparable to the KNMI, issued a red code for extreme heat on Friday. This happened for the first time in history. Record temperatures are expected across the UK on Monday and Tuesday, with the mercury reaching 40 degrees. It will also be very hot in the rest of the UK. In 2019, an English record temperature of 38.7 degrees Celsius was measured in Cambridge. That record is almost certain to be broken next week. According to the Met Office, ‘lives are at risk’, especially of the frail elderly.

British ministers met on Saturday afternoon to discuss the so-called ‘cobra meeting’. Interesting detail: Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not attend the emergency meeting. According to local media, he had a farewell party this weekend at his Checkers country retreat, so he had to prepare for it. Angela Rayner, deputy leader of Britain’s opposition Labor party, accused Johnson of ‘getting ready to party at a time when Britain is boiling and has failed again’.

British transport companies advise travelers to only make ‘essential journeys’ by public transport or private transport on Monday and Tuesday. “Public transport will clearly be affected by the heat,” Kit Malthouse, speaking on behalf of the British Cabinet, said after the Cobra meeting. “For example, the heat can affect the rails (expand the rails, causing the rails to warp, ed.), causing trains to run slower. There may also be fewer trips. People should be aware of the disruptions. If they don’t need to travel, now is a good time to work from home.”

British Health Minister Steve Barclay called on vulnerable family members, acquaintances and neighbors to take care. Additional ambulance facility has also been provided, he said. Some British hospitals have also announced that they are planning fewer routine surgeries and tests to maintain capacity for anticipated emergencies.


ANWB offers some tips for motorists who will be on the road in the coming days:

– Do not set the car air conditioner below 6 degrees Celsius below the outside temperature. High temperature difference is unhealthy for you and can cause cold or headache or sore throat.

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– Take an umbrella in the car. No, not rain, but against the sun. If you unfortunately have to get out of the car, you are not unprotected in the sun.

– Before leaving, open your car doors or windows. This allows the worst heat to escape.

– Although this sounds familiar, it happens often: Never leave your passengers (including any pets) in a closed car.

Are you traveling abroad:

– Then take the spare key with you (“most people don’t”) and don’t keep it in the car. “Most people do.”

– Check if the Netherlands has European coverage and not just roadside assistance coverage.

– And for those holidaying by car this weekend: Realize that European roads are very busy this Saturday. Better to go later in the afternoon or go out on a Sunday.

Holiday traffic on the A67 near Eindhoven towards the Belgian border.  Traffic has started on holidays.
Holiday traffic on the A67 near Eindhoven towards the Belgian border. Traffic has started on holidays. © ANP / ANP

forest fire

The warm air currently hanging over southern parts of Spain, Portugal and France is expected to reach the north after the weekend. In Spain, the second heat wave of the year has lasted almost a week. The temperature has been measured at nearly 46 degrees in recent days. As a result of the heat, a large forest fire broke out north of the Spanish tourist resort of Mijas on Thursday. According to regional emergency services, more than 3,000 people have been evacuated from the area. Many of them are housed in sports centers. Several forest fires also broke out in Extremadura, near the Portuguese border.

Last week, thousands of hectares of forest burned in Portugal. Forest fires are spreading in northern Aveiro, central Leiria, southern Faro (Algarve) and Setubal, 50 kilometers south of the capital Lisbon.

France has been battling wildfires for weeks due to a drought caused by extreme heat. Firefighters are battling the blaze in south-west France with firefighting aircraft and more than a thousand firefighters. According to local authorities, more than 12,200 people have been evacuated in the past week. Among the evacuees are tourists. Forest fires are also increasing day by day. In the Gironde department, 10,000 hectares of forest burned on Saturday, up from around 7300 the previous day.

A firefighter at a forest fire in the French Gironde region in the southwest of the country.
A firefighter at a forest fire in the French Gironde region in the southwest of the country. © via REUTERS

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