Nordic countries sizzle as European heatwave moves north

Stockholm (AFP) –


Nordic countries are experiencing searing temperatures as Europe's record-breaking heatwave moves north, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) said Saturday, with some areas recording "tropical nights".

In Sweden, the most extreme heat has headed straight for the country's far north.

On Friday the small town of Markusvinsa in the far north recorded a temperature of 34.8 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest mark reached in all of Sweden so far this year.

"That's the hottest temperature in the far north since 1945 and the third highest temperature on record," Jon Jorpeland, meteorologist at SMHI, told AFP.

Earlier in the week several places in Sweden experienced "tropical nights," meaning that temperatures stayed above 20C throughout the night.

According to Jorpeland, temperatures in the south of Sweden haven't been as extreme and it's not unusual that the mercury reaches 30 degrees a few days a year in the country, even though current temperatures are above average.

SMHI has also issued warnings for potential water shortages in August in 15 of the country's 21 counties.

The tropical heat was also being felt in other Nordic countries and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute said Saturday it had recorded "tropical nights" in 20 different locations in southern Norway.

Heat warnings have been issued in Sweden, Norway and Finland and earlier this week Finnish police even warned motorists to be mindful of moose, who were increasingly crossing roads in search of water to quench their thirst.

The World Meteorological Organization on Thursday said forecasts indicated that atmospheric flows would transport the heat from Europe to Greenland "resulting in high temperatures and consequently enhanced melting".

Current predictions indicate the resulting melting of ice could approach the record losses recorded in 2012, the organisation said, citing scientists from the Danish Meteorological Institute.