Starting on Saturday, the national heat plan protocol is once again in effect as the third prolonged period of high temperatures of the summer begins across the country.
With temperatures predicted to exceed 27 degrees and local highs to top 30 degrees, a code yellow from the Dutch weather service KNMI will go into effect for the entire country (aside from the Wadden islands) at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The special weather warning will remain in place in all three northern provinces until 8 a.m. on Monday, but the high temperatures are forecast to remain above 25 degrees through Wednesday.
RTV Drenthe meteorologist Roland van der Zwaag says that the weather conditions are due to an easterly wind bringing warmer air from the continent further north and west. In the north, the predicted heat has meant that several events have been cancelled and that livestock transport has to be limited.
In Groningen, RTV Noord reports that the Bommen Berendloop has cancelled its half marathon on Sunday in the Stadspark due to the heat – a 10 km race will be held instead, and extra water stations will be set up for participants. Omrop Fryslan writes that livestock cannot be transported when temperatures exceed 35 degrees, and inspectors from the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority will be carrying out extra checks in the coming days to ensure that livestock handlers are protecting the welfare of the animals.
This marks the third prolonged period of high temperatures this summer. In July, The Netherlands recorded its highest temperature ever – 40.7 degrees in Gilze-Rijen – during a five-day heat wave. There was also a stretch of extremely warm days in June, which has traditionally been uncommon in the country but is becoming a more frequent occurrence.
Heat waves increasingly common
The definition of a heat wave is five days in a row with high temperatures exceeding 25 degrees are measured at De Bilt, the central Dutch weather station, including three days that have highs above 30 degrees. Another heat wave struck the nation in June. Prolonged periods of extremely high temperatures and dry spells are exacerbated by climate change.
Elderly citizens, 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, during a heat wave. The symptoms of heat stroke include fatigue, concentration problems, dizziness and headache.
The heat protocol calls for people 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 conditions across the north in open waters have improved generally since July: the Hoornseplas in Groningen no longer has any signs of swimmer’s itch, and there are fewer reports of blue algae in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland. Most public pools will remain open through the end of the week, but be sure to double check online first before planning to dive in.