An intense heat wave continues to affect western Europe, bringing dangerous temperatures across the continent, as of Saturday, August 4. Three men in Spain died of heatstroke on Friday, August 2, as the temperature reached 44°C (111°F) in the western portions of the country. Temperatures in neighboring Portugal are forecast to break 47°C (116°F), putting the continent's all-time record of 48°C (118°F) within reach. To the east, the Italian government issued red heat alerts for the central and northern regions of the country, including Milan, Venice, and Florence. Meanwhile, the Netherlands is experiencing a nationwide water shortage, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Drinking water supplies remain high, but farmers are banned from using surface water for irrigation until further notice.
The heat is expected to break for Portugal beginning on Monday, August 6, with temperatures cooling through the week. Central Spain will see extreme temperatures persist until Wednesday, August 8. Much of Europe will also see a break in the heat by mid-week.
These high temperatures could be hazardous to health, particularly for the elderly, young children, and people suffering from chronic illnesses such as cardiac issues, hypertension, and diabetes. Symptoms of heatstroke include high fever, hot, red, dry skin, headache, nausea, drowsiness, intense thirst, confusion, convulsions, and loss of consciousness.
Individuals in affected areas are advised to keep abreast of local weather forecasts, avoid strenuous outdoor activity, remain indoors as much as possible between noon and 16:00 when temperatures tend to peak, remain well hydrated (with sugar-free, non-alcoholic beverages), and wear loose, light-colored clothing. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if displaying symptoms of heatstroke.