The 2003 European Heat Wave

Europe is not accustomed to hot summers.


2003 European Heat Wave

2003 European Heat Wave

"Europe is not accustomed to hot summers. Give them a break, hot summers almost never happen there. But in 2003, they got hit with one that would make the southeastern United States, or the Australian outback sit back and marvel.

In Europe, most of the homes built within the last 50 years before 2003 were not equipped with air conditioners, because none had ever been needed. Now, well over half of them have equipped themselves for the future.

There were at least 14,802 deaths from the heat in France alone, most of them old people in nursing homes, or in single family homes without the ability to cool off. The heat dried up most of Europe, and severe forest fires broke out in Portugal. Some 2,000 people died there from the heat.

About 300 died in Germany, where the weather is usually very cold to delightfully mild; 141 in Spain, where the temperature actually gets into the 90s Fahrenheit once in a great while; 1,500 in the Netherlands. Multiple temperature records, having lasted since the 1700s, were broken, then broken again a week later: 106.7 Fahrenheit in Brono, Switzerland. This melted a lot of Alpine glaciers into flash floods. 104.7 in Bavaria, Germany. 103 in Paris. The new record in Edinburgh, Scotland is now 91.2, which is unheard of there.

The wine harvest came a month early to save the grapes. 75% of Ukraine’s wheat crops were parched to death."

Heat Wave Map