Weather forecasts across the Netherlands are predicting temperatures to get into the upper 30s, and measures are being taken in the north and beyond to keep people safe from the heat.
UPDATE: 11:28 a.m., Tuesday, 23 July
The Groningen Internet Courant reports that the Dutch Meteorology Institute (KNMI) has issued a code orange weather warning through Thursday afternoon for almost the entire country due to continuing extreme heat. The only area of the country that has a code yellow, which is less severe than code orange, is the Wadden islands. Across the nation, overnight temperatures are expected to remain above 20 degrees.
A national heat plan is now in effect, as issues by the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The heat plan comes into effect when temperatures are predicted to hit or exceed 27 degrees for four consecutive days, and is especially meant to warn elderly and otherwise vulnerable people to be extra careful.
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.
Original text follows below:
As of Tuesday, the warmest temperatures were predicted to be hit on Thursday: 35 is the projected high in Leeuwarden on that day; 36 is the predicted high in Groningen and 37 is the expected peak in Emmen.
ProRail, the company responsible for maintenance of the Dutch railways, has announced a code red this week in anticipation of the metal tracks being warped by the extreme heat. According to RTL Nieuws, ProRail says that when temperatures exceed 25 degrees, the rails can get up to 70 degrees, and the current predicted temperatures could soften and elongate the rails, causing them to warp.
NOS reports that ProRail is also dispatching more crew to respond to broken down trains: air conditioning often cuts out in trains that stop working, which can cause dangerously hot conditions for passengers. During a similar heat wave in late June, at least one Arriva train between Groningen and Leeuwarden was running without air conditioning, leaving travellers to sweat it out.
Henk Schuijn from the Safety Region Friesland told the Leeuwarder Courant that the heat combined with a lack of moisture in the air is creating conditions ripe for a fire to break out. Fire fighters are keeping an especially close eye on the Zuidoosthoek, Gaasterland and the Wadden islands in the coming days.
The agricultural industry is already being impacted by the rising temperatures: Omrop Fryslan writes that a cattle market on Wednesday in Leeuwarden has been cancelled due to national rules forbidding transportation of livestock if temperatures are excessively hot. In Groningen and Drenthe, limitations have been placed on using surface water on fields.
To keep cool, RTV Drenthe has put together an overview of safe swimming spots in the province: most outdoor waters are safe, but there are a couple of locations where blue algae has been spotted. Dagblad van het Noorden reports that two large events are scheduled to move forward on Thursday in Drenthe – the Pulledag in Hoogeveen and Meppeldag in Meppel – but organisers say there will be plenty of water available for visitors and more public water play spots may be added.