Extreme weather causing chaos in northern and southern Europe

Firefighters on the island of Sardinia battled to bring a series of outbreaks under control on Monday. The emergency crews’ efforts were complicated by a strong wind, known as the mistral, blowing across the Mediterranean.

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In Nuoro, the most seriously affected area, the local fire brigade deployed six teams totalling 30 personnel, as well as 12 vehicles, according to local media. One firefighter was reported injured during the evacuation of a campsite, which was subsequently destroyed by the fire.

Right now, the most serious situation concerns the lack of running water after the flames seriously damaged the water plant. The supply should soon be restored, but the Mayor of the region has signed an ordinance to prohibit its use for food purposes until the situation returns to normal.

A member of anti-forest fire team puts out flames burning in Capaci, near Palermo, in Sicily, southern Italy, Wednesday, July 26, 2023.

Meanwhile, some tourists have already packed their bags and damage is being assessed in the industrial area.

On Sunday, around 600 people were evacuated in different areas of Sardinia due to rampant wildfires that swept across the island’s northeastern and southern regions. 

Spain and Portugal battle wild fires

Local residents use buckets with water to try to slow down flames approaching their houses in Alcabideche, outside Lisbon.

The fires in Portugal continue to ravage the country, from north to south.

More than 3.400 firefighters were battling 130 fires in Portugal. Temperatures were above 40ºC in some regions of the country, and authorities said wildfire risks would remain “very high or at maximum level across the entire state” over the coming days.

From Monday, Spain is facing a new heat wave caused by the entry from the south of a mass of warm, dry air, according to the State Meteorological Agency.

It will last until Friday, with temperatures that will be up to 15 degrees above normal values for the season. According to the latest forecast, thermometers could exceed 44ºC in much of the southern half and reach or approach 40ºC in provinces that used to be cooler.

The orange and yellow heat wave alerts have been issued in 15 provinces in Andalusia, Castile and Leon, Castile-La Mancha, Extremadura, Galicia and the Community of Madrid.

Slovenia calls on EU to help with flood aftermath

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A car is stuck on a bridge near the town of Komenda, Slovenia, Friday, Aug. 4, 2023.

The death toll from days of heavy rains and flooding in Slovenia has climbed to six, police said on Monday, as clean-up operations continued with help from neighbouring countries.

Prime Minister Robert Golob has described the torrential rains and severe flooding that hit the Alpine country of two million as its worst natural disaster since independence three decades ago.

On Monday, rescue workers tried to reopen roads to the most remote or isolated places, while assessing damages which the government has said could exceed half a billion euros.

Slovenia, an EU member, has asked for help from the bloc, seeking in particular heavy machinery such as excavators and prefabricated temporary bridges to deal with the aftermath of the flooding.

Heavy storms in Norway and Denmark

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A tree lies on the ground close to the amusement park Tivoli after falling following a heavy storm, in Copenhagen, Monday, Aug. 7, 2023.

The storm “Hans” is forecasted to arrive in Norway Monday afternoon or evening. The rain has already begun, resulting in flooding in a commuter parking lot located outside Oslo. As a consequence, several cars in the lot were submerged underwater due to the flooding of the adjacent riverbed.

And, after experiencing a remarkably wet July, Denmark continues to endure weather more reminiscent of autumn than summer.

The downpour and storm that started on Sunday first affected the eastern island of Bornholm before reaching the capital city, Copenhagen, on Monday.

As workers were occupied with removing a fallen tree from the Tivoli Gardens wall, another tree toppled across the street. Fortunately, there were no pedestrians or cyclists present on the paths when the tree fell.

The combination of saturated ground and the presence of leaves on the trees makes them more prone to falling, unlike during the more frequent stormy weather of autumn and winter.

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