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Bad News for Notre Dame? Europe's Record-Breaking Heat

Historical architect worries that soaked stone walls could dry too quickly, collapse
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2019 11:36 AM CDT
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A man cools off in a fountain in Rome, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Europeans are jumping into public fountains and the sea to keep cool as parts of Europe could see a record-breaking heat wave.   (Riccardo Antimiani/ANSA via AP)
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(Newser) – Europe is sweltering amid a heat wave that's overheating bodies and breaking records, with the AP reporting that people were cooling off in any handy body of water including public fountains and the sea. The Guardian reports that the Netherlands and Belgium both broke all-time heat records in what it calls "the second extreme heatwave in consecutive months to be linked by scientists to the climate emergency." A look around the hellscape:

  • The cause: An "omega block," per the Guardian. Basically, a high-pressure system that blocks the jet stream and lets a bunch of hot air blow north into Europe from Northern Africa. The same phenomenon just gave Europe its hottest June on record.

  • The Netherlands: The southern city of Tilburg hit 102 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday, breaking the record 101.5 degrees set in August 1944.
  • Belgium: Belgium was under a code red temp alert for the entire country, and broke its record with 102 degrees.
  • France: Bordeaux notched the hottest temp since records began on Tuesday, at a steamy 106.2 degrees. Paris is bracing for 107.6 degrees on Thursday.
  • Notre Dame: Paris' vaunted cathedral could be in serious trouble again with this heat wave. The problem, per the AP: The stone walls are still soaked with water from the devastating fire, and while they're so far stable, France's chief architect of historic monuments warns that "what I fear is that the joints or the masonry, as they dry, lose their cohesion ... and all of sudden, the vault gives way."
(Read more heat wave stories.)

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