Starting on Sunday the 23rd of June, temperatures across the Netherlands are expected to get close to or above 30 degrees for three days in a row.
What qualifies as a heat wave in the Netherlands? The central meteorological station in the Netherlands in De Bilt has to register at least five days in a row where temperatures do not dip below 25 degrees, including three days where temperature reach or exceed 30 degrees.
The current forecast says that there is a 60 percent chance of a heatwave hitting the country next week, but the heat in the north does not look like it will be quite as severe: in Groningen and Emmen, weather forecasting website Buienradar projects that the heat is will peak at 30 degrees on Tuesday. In Leeuwarden, Tuesday is also looking likely to be the warmest with a high go 28 degrees.
According to the Leeuwarder Courant, temperatures inland are predicted to be warmer than along the coast. In the southern provinces, temperatures may exceed 35 degrees. Due to the prolonged hot conditions, any storms that develop are likely to be severe thunderstorms.
Drought in 2018
The summer of 2018 marked the longest period of drought in the Netherlands in a century during another heatwave, which persisted throughout July and August. Burn bans were enforced across the north and water preservation measures for agriculture were put into place. Farmers in the Netherlands were eligible for European aid to compensate for damaged crops.
Waters along the Wadden Islands was four degrees higher than average, and there were issues with low water pressure due to increased demand in Friesland. A bigger cause for concern was the potential damage to the earthen dikes and quays in Friesland, which could dry out and crack due to the lack of rain: the normally lush green grass on the dikes turned yellow and brown because of the drought conditions last summer.
Another potential consequence of prolonged heat waves is delays to the trains due to mechanical components failing during drastic temperature changes. But the drought last year had at least one silver lining: the foundation of a medieval fortification was spotted in a field near the Groningen town of Noordlaren. “Parch marks” – the outlines of ancient structures in the soil – are revealed by the dried out soil.
By March of 2019, ground water levels were largely restored to normal because of dramatic rain fall in the early spring. Prolonged periods of drought and heat, followed by extreme rainfall levels, are becoming more common cycles in the Netherlands and can be attributed at least in part to climate change.