IT’S so hot that women in bikinis are sunbathing in Moscow.
A heat wave across much of Europe is also causing crops to wither, forest fires to ignite and roads to melt, while refrigerators and fans are buckling in the searing sun.
From Russia’s Urals to western Germany, a week of temperatures hovering in the mid-30s C (mid-90s F) has baked northern parts of Europe, which are usually spared the heat of the Mediterranean — and forecasters are warning of more to come in the next week.
There was the rare sight of women in bikinis sunbathing yesterday in Kolomenskoye park in Moscow, while other people tried to cool off by soaking themselves in fountains and water jets in the Russian capital, Belarus and other parts of Europe.
But it hasn’t been all fun and games. The air conditioning systems on board the high-speed trains of Germany’s national rail operator Deutsche Bahn broke down several times. With locked windows, dozens of passengers were afflicted with heat exhaustion after hours trapped in temperatures of up to 50 C (122 F).
The higher temperatures are being caused by an interaction between a zone of low pressure to the northwest of Britain and high pressure around the Mediterranean, British weather service spokesman Barry Gromett said.
A batch of cooler air is to work its way slowly across France and into central Germany, Gromett said.
Russia’s worst droughts in a century have destroyed almost 10 million hectares (25 million acres) of crops in central and European areas. A state of emergency has been declared in 18 Russian provinces, where fire has engulfed more than 26,000 hectares of forest.
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