With high temperatures set to be above 30 degrees on Monday and Tuesday, Drenthe is one of seven Dutch provinces where an official heat wave response plan has been put into effect.
According to Dagblad van het Noorden, local temperatures may exceed 28 degrees on Monday, and in Drenthe, it could get up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday. Temperatures are not expected to go below 20 degrees overnight for the coming days, which can make for sleepless nights in combination with little breeze and high humidity.
On Monday and Tuesday, a number of schools in Drenthe and Groningen will observe a so-called Tropenrooster (tropics roster), namely opening and closing earlier to avoid the worst heat of the day.
Medical and health facilities across the north may also be operating modified hours in the coming days: in response to more consistently warm summers due to climate change, care centres throughout the Netherlands have taken measures such as installing air conditioning and other cooling systems in recent years. During the historic heat wave in the summer of 2018, RTL Nieuws reported that there was a 1,259% increase in the number of sales of fans and portable air conditioners compared to the same period in 2017.
The heat plan is the activation of a protocol to provide prompt response to individuals in distress due to the heat. Such measures include more employees on call at the ANWB travellers’ association, the Royal Dutch Touring Company, to ensure an expedited response for motorists whose vehicles have broken down. If necessary, the plan also includes logistics for spraying bridges with water so that they can continue to open for passing boats: the steel used in most Dutch bridges can expand during hot weather.
How to keep cool
RTV Drenthe reports that the elderly, babies, the chronically ill, overweight individuals, those in hospital and social isolated people are especially vulnerable to the potential health effects, namely dehydration and other heat-related illnesses, of prolonged high temperatures. Everyone in the country is advised to drink plenty of water, avoid strenuous physical activity during the warmest part of the day, wear breathable clothing and sunscreen, keep your home cool and check in on your neighbours to make sure they are coping with the warm weather.
The decision to activate the “heat plan” is made by the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). Dagblad van het Noorden writes that the heat plan protocol was developed in 2007 and is meant to be rolled out if a heat wave – five days above 25 and three days above 30 – is in the forecast. The early heat wave this year could make the month of June the warmest in the Netherlands since 1901.
Photo source: Buienradar