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Thursday, 12 August 2021

More weather porn! An anti cyclone, ironically named Lucifer is slowly moving north over the Mediterranean countries of Italy, Greece and Spain causing Sicily to record Europe's hottest temperature ever when the mercury hit 48.8 deg C, 120 F, yesterday

This morning I got up early and went for a long walk. At the back of my house there is a bird sanctuary with canals, windmills and beautiful Dutch countryside, see picture above, taken by my friend Patrick.

Today it was particularly wonderful, a warm August sun, fanned with a cool southwesterly breeze, the birds were singing, the fish were jumping and the insects chirping and the walk itself gave me a double shot of happy endorphins, lifting my spirit for the day ahead.

It is hard to imagine that just a few hundred kilometres south from this paradise the gates of hell have opened for many of my European neighbours.

An anti cyclone, ironically named Lucifer has parked its fat butt over the Mediterranean countries of Italy, Greece and Spain causing Sicily to record the hottest temperature ever in Europe when the mercury hit 48.8 deg C, 120 deg F yesterday beating the 48 deg C which was recorded in Athens Greece, back in 1977.

Lucifer will continue to head north in the coming days with Italy's capital Rome in its sights. Red alerts have been issued across many areas with Friday expected to especially nasty.

Earthwindmap showing the heat effects of anti cyclone Lucifer across the Mediterranean.

According to the BBC, the Mediterranean heatwave, which has seen some countries record their highest temperatures in decades, has led to the spread of wildfires across southern Italy, with Sicily, Calabria and Puglia the worst-hit regions. Italian firefighters on Wednesday said they had been involved in more than 300 operations in Sicily and Calabria over a 12-hour period, battling through the night to control blazes burning thousands of acres of land.

Separately, wildfires are continuing across Greece, fuelled by strong winds and parched vegetation. Foreign teams are helping to tackle blazes in what Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has described as a "nightmarish summer".

The speed of climate change recently has caught out governments and experts alike. Back in the summer of 2019, Spain, France, Holland and Germany achieved, +40 deg C, +104 deg F temperatures smashing previous records, later in the same year Australia smashed its highest temperature ever when the mercury inched past 50 deg C, 122 deg F, leaving the country crippled from record-breaking wildfires and heatwaves Last year it was the entire west coast of the US and this year, southwest US, northwest US and southwest Canada and now Europe once again.

Wildfires and droughts have accompanied the heatwaves. Last month the extreme weather turned from fire to rain in Europe when hundreds died in never before seen torrential rain in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, UK and Austria. All the above mentioned events left governments woefully unprepared as extreme weather renders many parts of western suburbia, unliveable and it's getting worse rapidly. All over the world, small indications are sprouting up and showing just how our vulnerable eco-system is crumbling.

Severe drought in California have left experts fearing the water system there is on the verge of collapse with farmers thought to hit the hardest. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s projection next week will spare cities and tribes but hit Arizona farmers hard. They knew this was coming. They have left fields unplanted, laser leveled the land, lined canals, installed drip irrigation, experimented with drought-resistant crops and found other ways to use water more efficiently.

Still, the cutbacks in Colorado River supply next year will be a blow for agriculture in Pinal County, Arizona’s top producer of cotton, barley and livestock. The cuts are coming earlier than expected as the drought has intensified and reservoirs dipped to historic lows across the West. Scientists blame climate change for the warmer, more arid conditions over the past 30 years.

Further north it's just as bad. Eastern Washington, a vast expanse of seemingly endless stretches of flatlands with rolling hills along its edges that produces the nation’s fourth largest wheat crop. It’s been devastated by a drought the National Weather Service has classified as “exceptional” and the worst since 1977. A local farmer estimated her farm’s wheat crop this year at half of normal, and of poor quality. Some Washington wheat farms produced almost no crop because of the drought. “We’re seeing complete crop failure in some areas,” said Michelle Hennings, executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers in the small community of Ritzville, in the heart of the state’s wheat growing region.

And the heat keeps coming. Volunteers and county employees set up cots and stacked hundreds of bottles of water in an air-conditioned cooling center in a vacant building in Portland, Oregon, one of many such places being set up as the Northwest sees another stretch of sizzling temperatures. Scorching weather also hit other parts of the country this week. The weather service said heat advisories and warnings would be in effect from the Midwest to the Northeast and mid-Atlantic through at least Friday. Authorities trying to provide relief to vulnerable people are mindful of a record-shattering heat wave earlier this summer that killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest.

The high temperatures in Portland, part of a usually temperate region, would break all-time records this week if the late June heat wave had not done so already. Due to Covid and other problems, more people are experiencing homelessness, a population vulnerable to extreme heat.

Across the pond, Spain and Portugal are preparing for a heat wave that has already wreaked havoc in southeastern Europe, especially in Greece, and is now heading for the Iberian Peninsula. A heat wave fueled by the hot air in North Africa has already swept across the Mediterranean region, triggering wildfires in Italy, Turkey and Algeria, where dozens of people have lost their lives.

In Greece, entire forests, houses and farms were destroyed, and people were forced to flee from the fire. The Prime Minister of Portugal warned that the hot weather increases the risk of vegetation fires that the country has faced before, in 2017 alone more than 100 people were killed.

The Spanish Meteorological Agency has announced that temperatures will exceed 44 degrees Celsius in some areas by Monday. Temperatures are expected to rise above 40C in parts of south-east France forecasters have warned as the so-called ‘heat dome’ pushes north into France from the Mediterranean.

On Wednesday, “temperatures reached between 35 to 40C and could exceed 40C in parts of Provence and the Rhône Valley later this week,” national forecaster Météo France said.

After record-breaking wildfires flash floods are now ravaging Turkey. The floods are rising so fast people have become stranded on rooftops, sweeping away cars and triggering mudslides. The Turkish military have evacuated a regional hospital on Wednesday, plucking people from rooftops. Flash floods have wreaked havoc across Turkey's Black Sea coastline, washing away cars and homes. Eight people were taken to hospital after a bridge was destroyed by the surging flood waters yesterday according to The Daily Mail.

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