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Extreme Heatwave and Drought Ravage Parts of Europe

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By Shella Artillero - - 5 Mins Read

Storms are adding to the damage caused by a severe drought that is "worsening" in parts of Europe and destroying already drained crops.

According to the EU's Global Drought Observatory's most recent monthly report, the risk of prolonged soil dryness brought on by repeated heatwaves since May and a "chronic absence" of rainfall was emphasized.

It reiterated the last report's warning that over half of the EU's territory is at risk of drought and underlined that dwindling rivers and other water supplies are having an impact on agriculture and electricity production at power plants.

According to a report released by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, "the severe drought impacting several regions of Europe since the beginning of the year has been further spreading and intensifying as of early August."

Large portions of Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Romania, and Hungary, as well as the non-EU nations of Britain, Serbia, Ukraine, and Moldova, were anticipated to experience an increasing "drought danger."

Water levels at San Juan Reservoir in Madrid have fallen to 60 per cent. Picture Getty Images

In contrast to the 11 percent it estimated for last month, the observatory now estimates that 17% of Europe is under red alert.

"Some areas of Europe may have experienced relief from the drought thanks to recent precipitation (mid-August). However, it added, "In some regions, concurrent thunderstorms resulted in losses and damages and may have restricted the precipitation's beneficial benefits.

Up until November, Mediterranean regions should anticipate "warmer and drier than typical circumstances."

Over the previous three months, rain "anomalies" have affected areas of Portugal, Spain, southern France, middle Italy, Switzerland, southern Germany, and a sizable portion of Ukraine.

A normal amount of rain was predicted to fall in some areas of Europe between now and October, but the research warned that this rain "may not be enough to fully recover from the shortfall cumulated in more than half a year."

However, "drier than typical weather conditions" may persist in some areas of Croatia, Portugal, and Spain, while they are likely to subside in the Alps.

Over May, June, and July, atmospheric conditions associated with the type of heatwaves scorching Europe were at their greatest level since 1950.

Particularly heavily struck is Portugal, which is currently experiencing its third heatwave following weeks of bushfires.

However, Interior Minister Jose Luis Carneiro announced that the current national alert would end at midnight on Tuesday "due to a major improvement" in the weather.

Farmer Jargen Hahl stands in a field of dry and stunted plants of corn in Griesheim, Germany, after a hot and dry summer.

Authorities had restricted access to forests, outlawed fireworks displays, and increased the readiness of the emergency services under the nationwide alert that was established on Sunday.

After Portugal suffered its hottest July in nearly a century, the notice was issued as temperatures appeared destined to reach 40C on Monday and Tuesday.

Portugal has seen its deadliest forest fires since 2017, when a string of fires claimed dozens of lives, destroying more than 94,000ha of land.

In the US, the western part of the country has experienced a devastating drought for more than 20 years that has severely reduced rivers and reservoirs and left the land tinder-dry.