Western Europe dealt with a heat wave Friday that has reached historic levels. Wildfires raged in Spain, French officials urged citizens to care of themselves and each other in the record heat, and climate officials in Geneva predicted that such extreme weather will only become more intense and last longer. The temperature in Gallargues-le-Montueux topped 114 degrees, the highest temperature ever recorded in France, the Guardian reports. Other towns also set records. Germany reported June temperatures are the highest since record-keeping began in 1881. The World Meteorological Organization said 2015-19 is on track to be the world's hottest five-year period ever recorded.
France closed about 4,000 schools and installed mist showeres in streets in an effort to head off a repeat of the 2003 heat wave, when 14,000 people died, per CNN. With air conditioning less common there, many cities in Europe are not designed for such heat. Examining 500 years of records, one scientist in Germany said this week that "the hottest summers in Europe since the year 1500 AD all occurred since the last turn of the century: 2018, 2010, 2003, 2016, 2002." Volunteers deployed across Paris to take food and water to homeless people, many of whom are refugees. President Emmanuel Macron called for an "adaptation of society and its habits," saying, ”We will need to change our set-up, our way of working, build differently." (Read more heat wave stories.)