Heat wave scorches Europe as UK reaches record-breaking temperatures

By Sana Noor Haq, Hafsa Khalil, Angela Dewan, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT) July 20, 2022
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10:44 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

At least 21 different countries across Europe have heat warnings

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Heat warnings are in effect Tuesday in at least 21 countries, stretching from Ireland to Greece, according to Meteoalarm, an integration of European national weather services and part of the Network of European Meteorological Services.

Several countries, including the UK, Belgium and Poland, have posted their highest level of warnings, advising of dangerous, life-threatening heat.

Here's a full list of countries with heat-related warnings on Tuesday:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  4. Croatia
  5. Cech Republic
  6. France
  7. Germany
  8. Greece
  9. Hungary
  10. Ireland
  11. Italy
  12. Luxembourg
  13. Netherlands
  14. Poland
  15. Portugal
  16. Serbia
  17. Slovakia
  18. Slovenia
  19. Spain
  20. Switzerland
  21. United Kingdom
10:10 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

Sweden issues warning for extremely high temperatures in southern parts of the country

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite and Chris Liakos

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) issued on Tuesday an orange warning for extremely high temperatures of around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in northeast Götaland and southern Svealand – the southern part of the country – for Wednesday and Thursday.

The heat will culminate on Thursday, the Institute said in its website.

The Institute — an expert authority under the Ministry of the Environment — also issued yellow warnings for high temperatures of between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius (86 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit) in south central Sweden for the same days. More specifically in inner and eastern Götaland, inner Svealand, southeastern Norrland and on Gotland.

10:16 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

Nearly 60 million people in the US will see temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit this week

From CNN's Payton Major and Judson Jones

Nearly 20% of the US population, or about 60 million people, will likely see a temperature at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius) this week.

Among the hardest-hit areas are in the Southern Plains, including Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, where intense heat will stick around until at least Tuesday.

July has been trending above average for Texas, and residents are cranking up their air conditioners to stay cool. The power grid has been strained toward peak usage for several weeks as electricity bills continue to skyrocket.

Much of Texas will continue to see record highs every day this week, which will continue to stress the power grid and could lead to rolling blackouts in the coming days.

Temperatures are reaching the triple-digit mark as far as South Dakota, which is 15 degrees above normal.

Rapid City set a new record high on Monday, topping out at 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celsius) and breaking a record of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) set back in 1934. The National Weather Service in Rapid City is telling residents to limit outdoor activities to the early morning or late evening hours.

Read more about this here.

9:18 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

At least 2 dead and about 8,000 people evacuated so far due to Spain's wildfires, official says

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza, Alex Hardie and Zahid Mahmood

A plane drops water over fires in the Catalonia region countryside in Manresa, Spain, on July 18.
A plane drops water over fires in the Catalonia region countryside in Manresa, Spain, on July 18. (Davide Bonaldo/Sipa USA/AP)

At least two people have died and about 8,000 people have been evacuated so far as wildfires scorch areas across Spain, Isabel Rodríguez, Spain’s government spokesperson, said Tuesday.

“Two people have died, a firefighter and a farmer. There are some people seriously injured,” Rodríguez told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Madrid.

Spain currently has 24 active fires. The country has lost 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres) during this second wave and it has lost 70,000 hectares (172,000 acres) this year so far, a figure that is double that of the last decade’s average, the government’s spokesperson explained. 

Spain has faced five consecutive days with high temperatures, Rodríguez said, adding temperatures are set to decrease over the next couple of days.

“This is a tragic summer, we need to raise again how we react to them,” she said.

According to the Carlos III Health Institute, heat-related deaths through Sunday totaled at 679.

10:08 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

Here's how to stay cool without air conditioning

From CNN's Kristen Rogers

A young man pours water over himself to combat the heat on July 12 in Madrid, Spain.
A young man pours water over himself to combat the heat on July 12 in Madrid, Spain. (Ricardo Rubio/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Whether you're without power, enduring extreme heat or trying to save money, there are ways to feel comfortable without artificial cooling.

Heat can foster fun summer activities, but the body shouldn't be too hot for too long, as too much heat can harm your brain and other organs, according to the US National Institutes of Health.

Sweating is the body's natural cooling system, but when that's not enough, there's increased risk for developing the heat-related illness hyperthermia — signs of which include heat cramps, heat edema and heat stroke.

Staying cool can be done by using some basic supplies and knowing how to manipulate your home to control its temperatures. Here are 14 methods for doing so.

Stay hydrated

When you're hot and flushed, hydrating yourself is the first and foremost step to cooling down, said Wendell Porter, a senior lecturer emeritus in agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida.

The temperature of the water doesn't matter since your body will heat it, he added. If your body is suffering from the heat and needs to cool itself, it can't do that without enough moisture, since the body cools itself by sweating.

Take a cold shower or bath

Taking a cold shower or bath helps cool your body by lowering your core temperature, Porter said.

For an extra cool blast, try peppermint soap. The menthol in peppermint oil activates brain receptors that tell your body something you're eating or feeling is cold.

Use cold washrags on your neck or wrists

Place a cold washrag or ice bags (packs) on your wrists or drape it around your neck to cool your body. These pulse points are areas where blood vessels are close to the skin, so you'll cool down more quickly.

Use box fans

Place box fans facing out of the windows of rooms you're spending time in to blow out hot air and replace it with cold air inside.

Close your curtains or blinds

If you have windows that face the sun's direction in the morning through afternoon, close the curtains or blinds over them to "keep the sun from coming directly into the house and heating up (the) inside," Porter said.

You could also install blackout curtains to insulate the room and reduce temperature increases that would happen during the day.

Sleep in breathable linens

Cotton is one of the most breathable materials, so cotton sheets or blankets could help keep you cool through the night. The lower the thread count of the cotton, the more breathable it is, Porter said.

Sleep in the basement

If you can't sleep through the night because you're too hot, try sleeping somewhere besides your bedroom, if that's an option. Heat rises, so if you have a lower or basement level in your home, set up a temporary sleeping area there to experience cooler temperatures at night.

Don't refrigerate or freeze blankets or clothing

Common advice for staying cool without air conditioning includes refrigerating or freezing wet socks, blankets or clothing then ringing them out to wear while you sleep. But this isn't a good idea, Porter said.

Because of "the amount of energy they can absorb from your body that night, they will be warm in just a matter of minutes," he said. "And then you'd have damp stuff that would mold your mattress. So you definitely don't want to do that."

Close the doors of unused rooms

If no one's using a room that doesn't have vents or registers, close the door to that area to keep the cool air confined to only occupied areas of the house.

Use the exhaust fan in your kitchen and/or bathroom

Flip the switch for the exhaust fan in your kitchen to pull hot air that rises after you cook or in your bathroom to draw out steam after you shower.

Install energy-efficient light bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs generate a higher temperature than LED light bulbs do. To make the switch, watch for sales on energy-efficient bulbs, then slowly replace the bulbs in your house, Porter said.

Switching light bulbs can save money but won't reduce a lot of heat in the home, Hall said. However, if you focus on switching the bulbs in areas you're sitting near, that would make a more noticeable difference, Porter said.

Cook in the morning, with a slow cooker or outside

Oven heat can spread throughout your house. Keep the heat centralized in one area, such as a slow cooker. Or, cook outdoors on a grill to keep the heat outside.

Enjoy frozen treats

Eating an ice pop or ice cream to cool down may help for a moment. But don't go overboard on the sugar if you're overheated or at risk of being overheated, Porter said.

"Sugar would run your metabolism up and you'd start feeling internally hot," he said. "So the cool treat might be good, but the extra sugar might not."

Research what your state offers

If you've tried everything and still can't beat the heat at home, you could look online for any local programs that are offering ductless air conditioners.

Depending on your state, some cooling centers — air-conditioned public facilities where people might go for relief during extremely hot weather — may be open and taking precautions to ensure they're as safe as possible. You could start by checking with your local utility offices, as they would know who is offering certain programs, Porter recommended.

CNN's Madeline Holcombe and Holly Yan contributed reporting to this po#

9:23 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

Fire danger forecast reaches highest level in Western Europe

From CNN Weather’s Judson Jones

Firefighters douse flames near Louchats, France, on July 18.
Firefighters douse flames near Louchats, France, on July 18. (Philippe Lopez/Pool/AFP/AP)

"Very Extreme Danger" of fire – the highest level of risk on the Fire Weather Index (FWI) scale – is forecast in Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom on Tuesday, according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

The EFFIS is one of the modules of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, which provides daily fire danger forecasts based on FWI.

"Since the beginning of July 2022, western Europe has been struggling with numerous major wildfires, fueled by extreme heatwaves and pre-existing drought conditions," Copernicus writes.

The total area burned in FranceSpain and Portugal in the past 10 days exceeds 40,000 hectares (more than 98,800 acres).

10:23 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

Over 100 million people in the US are under heat alerts

From CNN's Dave Hennen

Around a third of the US population is under a heat alert on Tuesday and Wednesday as dangerous heat peaks today and tomorrow over much of the country.

More than 100 million Americans are under heat alerts that touch portions of more than 20 states.

The worst of the heat today will be centered over the Plains, Lower Mississippi into much of Texas where heat warnings are in effect.

Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Oklahoma City and Memphis are under excessive heat warnings.

Dallas and Oklahoma City could hit 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) today with the heat index as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius).

Low temperatures will stay above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius), making it even more dangerous as the body doesn’t have time to cool off.

The heat is building in the Northeast with heat advisories for tomorrow in New York, Philadelphia and Boston where highs will be in the 90s and the heat index will be around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius) on Wednesday afternoon.

The heat is expected to linger in many locations into the weekend:

  • Around 265 million Americans or over 80% of the population is expecting to see a high above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (above 32.2 degrees Celsius) over the next week.
  • More than 60 million people are expected to see a high temperature at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (above 37.7 degrees Celsius) over the next seven days.

The extreme heat is leading to high fire danger across north Texas and part of Oklahoma where more than 10 million people are under red flag warnings, including Dallas.

9:14 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

Mayor: France's wildfires could've been "of a totally different scale" if forests were "better maintained"

From CNN's Renee Bertini, Saskya Vandoorne and Chris Liakos in Paris

People watch smoke rise from Teste-de-Buch, France, on July 16.
People watch smoke rise from Teste-de-Buch, France, on July 16. (Gaizka Iroz/AFP via Getty Images)

The blistering wildfires that have burned thousands of hectares in southwest France could have been "of a totally different scale" if the forests were "better maintained," the regional mayor has said.

“If this forest had been better maintained, perhaps the problem would have been of a totally different scale and the fire would have been stopped,” Patrick Davet, the mayor of one of the worst-affected areas by wildfires, Teste-de-Buch, in southwest France, said.

Davet told CNN affiliate BFMTV Tuesday that the time to assign responsibility will come, but “today we have to put all of our energy into defending what’s still left of this forest.”

We will put rules in place, I will take my own responsibilities. I don’t want this to happen again,” he said.

Davet added that the area could have found itself “in a tragic situation.” Today we’re lucky to have no victims,” he said.

Firefighters have been battling a forest fire in Teste-de-Buch for seven days now. The blaze has destroyed 6,500 hectares (more than 16,000 acres) of land so far, including all camp sites in the area, according to the mayor.

Some background: Davet's comments came as a third wildfire broke out in the Gironde region of western France.

The blaze prompted the evacuation of 500 more people, according to the prefecture of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Gironde.

After a “very difficult night” the prefecture tweeted on Tuesday morning a total of 19,300 hectares (more than 47,000 acres) had already been burned by the two other fires in the Gironde.

A total of 37,000 people have been evacuated due to the three fires, the prefecture said, adding that more than 2,000 firefighters are deployed to fight the blazes.

The latest fire in the Vensac commune of Gironde had burned 70 hectares (173 acres) by Tuesday morning, according to the prefecture.

None of the fires have been resolved, according to Commandant Matthieu Jomain, spokesperson of the Gironde Fire and Rescue Service.

9:14 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

Belgium extends "code red" weather warning to third region

From CNN’s James Frater

Amid rising temperatures, Belgium’s Royal Meteorological Institute (KMI/IRM) has extended a "code red" weather warning to a third region of the country, the Institute’s Head of Forecasting David Dehenauw announced on social media.

"We are extending code red to Limburg because there is a sufficient chance that at least 25% of the province will reach 40 degrees," Dehenauw tweeted.

"At 1300, it was as warm in as many places in Limburg as in parts of West Flanders and Hainaut that were already turning red.”

According to the KMI/IRM website, during a "code red" warning, citizens are advised to take certain measures including drinking regularly and wear light clothing. It is also recommended that people remain indoors in cool places and keep doors and windows closed.

Belgium’s Royal Meteorological Institute (KMI/IRM) had already issued a “code red” weather warning for heat for the provinces of West Flanders and Hainaut.