Germany records hottest temperature since 1881 as Europe's heatwave boosts power demand

People shower in the street to cool down as fire brigades use their equipment to refresh residents and visitors during a hot summer day on July 5, 2015 in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district.
People shower in the street to cool down as fire brigades use their equipment to refresh residents and visitors during a hot summer day on July 5, 2015 in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (Bloomberg) - The heatwave blanketing wide parts of Europe has pushed temperatures in Germany to the highest since recordings began in 1881.

The town of Kitzingen in Bavaria recorded a temperature of 40.3 deg C on Sunday afternoon, beating the previous record of 40.2 deg C last reached in 2003, the country's DWD weather service said on Monday.

"The number of these heatwaves has strongly increased in the past 25 years, and it's exactly what we expect to happen because of climate change," Mr Uwe Kirsche, a spokesman for DWD, said by phone.

"Society will have to learn how to handle more of these events."

The heat boosted power demand, lifting the cost of electricity for next-day delivery on the European Energy Exchange 32 per cent to €49.02 a megawatt-hour, the highest since Dec 8.

Europe has seen sweltering hot weather in the past week, with a temperature record smashed in Britain and the wheat crop affected in France. Scientists say Europe faces more severe and extended periods of droughts because of man-made climate change.

High temperatures in 2003 resulted in more than 14,000 deaths in France and 7,500 in Germany, and caused billions of euros of losses for Europe's agriculture and forest industries.

Germany after the 2003 heatwave introduced a warning system that sends out heat alerts to institutions including nursing homes, hospitals and schools, Mr Kirsche said.

"It's proven very successful," he said.

"The 2003 heat wave was the worst natural disaster we've ever seen in Germany. While we've had more heat waves, we never had those fatality numbers again."