Ongoing ‘Lucifer’ heat wave stifles large swath of Europe

Vadim Ghirda

A woman uses a fan to cool herself and a child wile ridding on a tram in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Romanian meteorologists issued an extreme temperatures warning, with 42 Celsius (107.6 F) forecast for parts of western Romania and placing 12 counties under a “red code” heat alert for the next two days. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — No wonder it’s been dubbed “Lucifer.”

A relentless heat wave that gripped parts of Europe this week has sent temperatures soaring to record highs for several days, causing at least two deaths and prompting authorities to issue severe weather warnings.

“It is just too much,” real estate agent Sasa Jovanovic, 52, said during an early morning walk in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, where the temperature was forecast to hit 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) Saturday. “Sometimes it feels as if I cannot breathe.”

The extreme heat stifling Serbia, Romania, Croatia and parts of Spain, France and Italy has fueled wildfires, damaged crops and strained energy and water supplies. Authorities in some areas issued traffic restrictions and banned outdoor work during the hottest part of the day.

Spain’s national weather service on Saturday issued an emergency warning for high temperatures in 31 of the country’s 50 provinces as forecasts predicted temperatures of up to 44 C (111.2 F).

Western and northern Europe, in contrast, was experiencing colder and wetter weather.

Although southern Europe is used to scorching summers, meteorologists have warned that hot spells lasting several days aren’t that common.

The public health institute in Belgrade issued heat instructions, telling people to keep wet towels on windows if there is no air conditioning, and avoid physical strain and alcohol.

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