'Hell coming' as Europe braces for heat

Top News | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 27 Jun 2019

German police cautioned a man riding naked on a moped, while topless sunbathers sparked a row in Munich, as temperatures were expected to soar to record highs in several European countries.

Meteorologists blamed a blast of hot air from northern Africa for the heat wave early in the European summer, which could send thermometers above 40 degrees Celsius in France, Spain and Greece today and tomorrow.

Scientists warn that global warming could make such scorchers more frequent.

In Germany, where the 70-year-old record temperature for June of 38.5 degrees Celsius could be beaten, police in Brandenburg cautioned a naked man for driving his moped wearing only his helmet and sandals.

Police, who described themselves as "speechless" over the incident, tweeted that the man's response when stopped was: "Is it hot or what?"

However, there was no joking in Munich after burly security guards ordered a group of women who were sunbathing topless on the banks of the Isar to put their bikini tops back on.

But the move apparently backfired, according to a Munich daily, which quoted another sunbather as saying she and others took their bikini tops off "out of solidarity."

On the north coast, sweltering temperatures bent railway tracks out of shape on a popular tourist route near Rostock on the Baltic Sea.

Authorities were taking no chances in France, where a heat wave in August 2003 was blamed for 15,000 deaths. Some schools are expected to close today and tomorrow, while several cities including Paris and Lyon have restricted traffic to limit pollution.

In Spain, a TV weather presenter tweeted "el infierno [hell] is coming."

The worst is expected tomorrow, when 33 of the 50 Spanish provinces face extreme temperatures of up to 44 degrees.

In Austria's Innsbruck, the world-famous carriage horses were given time off as the city hit 36.7 degrees Celsius yesterday. In Poland, the interior ministry said 90 people have drowned this month while seeking to cool off in lakes or rivers.

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