Scorching heat wave continues to engulf Europe, smashing temperature records

Tuesday was the hottest day ever recorded in Britain as the country baked under super-heated air that sparked fires, buckled train tracks and touched off a torrent of emergency calls. It was part of a wider weather emergency that lasted for days and stretched across Europe. Stephanie Sy reports.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    Today has been the hottest day ever recorded in Britain. The country baked under superheated air that sparked fires, buckled train tracks and touched off a torrent of emergency calls.

    As Stephanie Sy reports, it is part of a larger weather emergency that has lasted for days.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    A scorching heat wave continues to engulf Europe, smashing high temperature records. In the U.K. Tuesday, the mercury hit 104.5 degrees, beating a record set in 2019. As the heat wave moved north to Germany, residents sought ways to stay cool.

  • Matthias Doellinger, Frankfurt Resident (through translator):

    Up until the early afternoon, the pool is quite pleasant, especially with small kids. But once it gets too hot, we're going home.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    But most homes in Europe don't have air conditioning, which makes the heat more dangerous. Officials have tallied more than 1,000 heat-related deaths so far in Portugal alone.

    Another danger, fire. Flames from a grass fire consumed homes in a suburb of London. In France, 39,000 people have been forced to evacuate, as firefighters struggle to put out wildfires in shifting winds. In Spain, wildfires have spread frighteningly close to railways. This video was captured by a passenger.

    Europe has been experiencing more excessive heat waves in recent years, evidence, experts say, of climate change. The high temperatures are coupled with a lack of water. The Rhine River, a key artery for shipping in Europe, is at its lowest level in 15 years. In Italy, the dry heat has turned swamps and marshes into hard, cracked land.

    U.N. officials say these unprecedented temperatures should be a wakeup call for government action.

  • Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization:

    In the future, this kind of heat waves are going to be normal and we will see even stronger extremes.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    For now, forecasters say the heat will only continue to get worse, possibly not subsiding until the middle of next week.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy.

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