Aug 5, 2017

Ongoing 'Lucifer' heat wave stifles large swath of Europe

by
Jovana Gec
,
San Francisco Chronicle
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. Photo: Vadim Ghirda, AP
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. Photo: Vadim Ghirda, 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.

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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.

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In Croatia, health authorities have reported a surge in emergency calls over the past week. They appealed to the thousands of tourists vacationing along the country's Adriatic coast to be careful on the beaches and while traveling.

In Romania, police banned heavy traffic on major roads in daylight hours during the weekend because of the heat wave, while trains slowed down. A train service in southern Serbia also was delayed earlier this week after tracks buckled in the heat.

Romania reported two heat-related deaths — a 45-year-old man collapsed and died Friday while working in a field in the northeast, while a 60-year-old man died of a heart attack in the street in an eastern port Thursday.