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Heatwave shatters September records in western Europe

A record-breaking heatwave that swept large parts of Western Europe in the early part of the week is beginning to recede.

Thousands of people took to parks and beaches on Monday and Tuesday for what could be the last warm weather of the year, as temperatures reached unusually high levels for the first month of autumn.

On Tuesday the northern French city of Lille had its hottest September day since records began in 1945, reaching 35.1°C, while Metz in the northeast reached 34.3°C — another record.

Widespread highs of between 25 and 30 degrees were reported across Germany too, where the southwestern city of Kaiserslautern reached 33.6°C, its highest in four years.

In Britain, temperatures exceeded 30°C for the first September in four years, with the southern English town of Frittenden sizzling in 31.3°C on Tuesday.

People gathered in Wales and southern England to enjoy the weather despite new rules restricting social gatherings to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

A legally enforced bans on groups of more than six people was introduced in England on Monday.

UK meteorologists said the warmest weather could continue for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, thus meeting the criteria for an official heatwave.

The high temperatures came as the World Meteorological Organisation this week warned of the continuing effects on climate change.

It said the Northern Hemisphere had experienced its warmer summer and warmest August on record.

The world’s five warmest Augusts have all been seen since 2015, it added.

Reference