Nordic countries sizzle as European heatwave moves north

People enjoy a dip in the sea after sweating at a public sauna in Helsinki, Finland, July 27, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Nordic countries are experiencing searing temperatures as Europe's record-breaking heatwave moves north, with Norway on Saturday (July 27) equalling its 1970 record, and many areas recording "tropical nights".

Laksfors in northern Norway on Saturday recorded a temperature of 35.6 deg C, equalling the national record set in Nesbyen in 1970, the country's meteorology service said on Twitter, adding however that the Meteorological Institute needed to "double check" that the measuring station was operating properly.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute also said it had recorded "tropical nights" in 20 different locations in southern Norway, meaning that temperatures stayed above 20 degrees throughout the night.

The tropical heat was also felt around other parts of the Nordics and in neighbouring Sweden, the most extreme heat headed straight for the country's far north.

On Friday the small town of Markusvinsa in the far north recorded a temperature of 34.8 deg C, the highest mark reached in all of Sweden so far this year.

"That's the hottest temperature in the far north since 1945 and the third highest temperature on record," Jon Jorpeland, meteorologist at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), told AFP.

Earlier in the week several places in Sweden also experienced "tropical nights".

According to Jorpeland, temperatures in the south of Sweden haven't been as extreme and it's not unusual that the mercury reaches 30 degrees a few days a year in the country, even though current temperatures are above average.

SMHI has also issued warnings for potential water shortages in August in 15 of the country's 21 counties.

The tropical heat was also being felt in other Nordic countries and heat warnings have been issued in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Earlier this week, Finnish police even warned motorists to be mindful of moose, who were increasingly crossing roads in search of water to quench their thirst.

The World Meteorological Organisation on Thursday said forecasts indicated that atmospheric flows would transport the heat from Europe to Greenland "resulting in high temperatures and consequently enhanced melting".

Current predictions indicate the resulting melting of ice cooled approach the record losses recorded in 2012, the organisation said, citing scientists from the Danish Meteorological Institute.

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