An intense heatwave is affecting large swathes of Europe, with temperatures soaring above 40C in many regions. France is starting to close dozens of schools because of a heatwave, with temperatures expected to climb above 40C in some regions on Thursday. Temperatures could even exceed 40C from Spain to Switzerland as hot air was sucked up from the Sahara by the combination of a storm stalling over the Atlantic and high pressure over central Europe.
Germany, too, is readying for an unusually intense heatwave and authorities have warned of an increased risk of forest fires. The number of wildfires across Europe already far exceeds the entire 2018 season, according to the Emergency Management Service of the EU agency Copernicus. Extreme heatwaves are expected to become more frequent owing to climate change, according to Friederike Otto, acting director at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford university.