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Nordic Countries Sizzle as European Heat Wave Moves North

People frolic at a fountain for relief from a heat wave in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 27, 2019.
People frolic at a fountain for relief from a heat wave in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 27, 2019.

STOCKHOLM — Nordic countries are experiencing searing temperatures as Europe's record-breaking heat wave moves north, with Norway on Saturday equaling its 1970 record and many areas recording "tropical nights."

Laksfors in northern Norway on Saturday recorded a temperature of 35.6 degrees Celsius (96 degrees Fahrenheit), equaling the national record set in Nesbyen in 1970, the country's meteorology service said on Twitter, adding, however, that the measuring station needed to be double-checked to ensure that it was operating properly.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute also said it had recorded "tropical nights" in 20 different locations in southern Norway, meaning that temperatures stayed above 20 C (68 F) throughout the night.

The heat was also felt around other parts of the Nordics. On Friday, the small town of Markusvinsa in Sweden’s far north recorded a temperature of 34.8 C (94.6 F).

"That's the hottest temperature in the far north since 1945 and the third-highest temperature on record," Jon Jorpeland, meteorologist at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), told AFP.

Earlier in the week, several places in Sweden also experienced "tropical nights."

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

Water shortages

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

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.

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 organization said, citing scientists from the Danish Meteorological Institute.