Extreme weather: From blankets on glaciers to ice creams for pandas, Europe finds new ways to deal with blistering heatwave | World News


A relentless heatwave that is blistering Europe has left some of the Alps’ oldest glaciers needing blanket cover to protect them from melting.

The Rhone Glacier in Switzerland is just one of the casualties of the extreme temperatures the continent has been experiencing over the past few days.

A spate of wildfires has seen firefighters battling blazes in Portugal, Spain and southern France – as well as in Turkey at the other end of the Mediterranean.

Water-dumping planes have been scrambled to help combat the worst of some of the wildfires.

Tourists have been evacuated from campsites in Gironde, France, where more than 2,700 hectares have been burnt so far, while temperatures are expected to exceed records in Portugal and Spain.

A panda enjoys a watermelon ice cream on a hot and sunny day at the Madrid Zoo, Spain, Wednesday, July 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Bing Xing is happy with his summer treat. Pic: Associated Press

Madrid Zoo’s giant panda Bing Xing enjoyed a watermelon ice lolly provided by keepers to keep him and other animals cool.

In addition to his daily ration of 50kg of fresh bamboo, Bing Xing, whose name means “star of ice”, eagerly chewed on frozen fruit on a stick.

A grey seal eats frozen fish, during the second heatwave of the year at the Zoo Aquarium in Madrid, Spain, July 13, 2022. REUTERS/Susana Vera
A grey seal gets a frozen fish treat

Predatory animals like lions or seals were offered ‘lollies’ made from beef or fish, depending on their diet. Zoo keepers also sprayed animals with water.

Birds ‘may start dropping from the sky’ – all the UK weather updates live

People carry their dogs while they evacuate after a wildfire, in Leiria, Portugal July 13, 2022. REUTERS/Rodrigo Antunes
People grab their pets as they evacuate after a wildfire, in Leiria, Portugal
A man in swimming trunks takes a shower on a roof of an apartment block in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, July 12, 2022. A new heatwave in Spain and Portugal is expected to last until the weekend. Already high temperatures are climbing steadily, raising fears of triggering more uncontrollable wildfires. (AP Photo/Paul White)
A man takes a cold shower on a roof of an apartment block in Madrid

In Portugal’s southern Algarve region, popular with tourists, authorities blocked access to the Quinta do Lago luxury resort and golf course as thick plumes of smoke rose from an area next to it which had ignited due to high temperatures.

Read more:
Frightening fires break out as Portugal’s temperatures climb to 46C

And in the central district of Leiria, north of Lisbon, where temperatures soared to 45C (113F), police were forced to block a major motorway due to a similar blaze.

A traffic light is seen in front of a pharmacy thermometer showing a temperature of 45 degrees Celsius (113F), as a heat wave hits France, in Nantes, France, July 13, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
A pharmacy thermometer shows soaring temperatures in Nantes, France

Villagers who had not been evacuated, poured water on roofs of their homes to try to cool them and stop them catching fire.

People cool off in an urban beach at Madrid Rio park in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, July 13, 2022. Weather forecasters say Spain is expected to have its second heat wave in less than a month and that it will will last at least until the weekend. Meteorologists said an overheated mass of air and warm African winds are driving temperatures in the Iberian Peninsula beyond their usual highs. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
People cool off at an urban beach in Madrid

Nearly all of mainland Portugal is on red alert for extreme heat conditions.

Helicopter transport water during forest fire extinction works near Becerril de la Sierra, on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, July 12, 2022. A heatwave, the second for Spain in less than a month and this year's first for Portugal, is expected to last at least until the weekend, officials said Tuesday. Already high temperatures are climbing steadily, raising fears of triggering more uncontrollable wildfires. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Helicopters dump water on wildfires on the outskirts of Madrid. Pic: Associated Press

The World Meteorological Organisation has warned “human-caused climate change” is triggering droughts, and a UN report says the number of extreme wildfires is expected to increase 30% within the next 28 years.


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