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WEATHER

Europe sizzles as temperatures rise towards 40C

Just days after lockdowns ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool on Tuesday as a mini-heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius.

Europe sizzles as temperatures rise towards 40C
AFP

Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius.

In some areas, the mercury was even seen topping 41 degrees Celcius (106 degrees Fahrenheit), such as Seville in southern Spain where people were cooling off in fountains or taking a dip in the Guadalquivir River in the morning, an AFPTV correspondent said.

Elsewhere in southern and western areas, temperatures have hovered around 40 degrees since Sunday, and by Tuesday nine regions were on high alert for the heat which was expected to last until Thursday, Spain's AEMET national weather agency said.

France was also experiencing its first heatwave with temperatures in the mid-30s expected to last until Thursday, Meteo-France said.

And Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country.

“Forget Ibiza… it's hotter here,” read the headline in Tuesday's Daily Express, as the Age Concern charity urged people to keep an eye out for elderly neighbours or relatives, particularly those living alone or self-isolating due to the virus.

Even the Nordic countries were expecting temperatures above 30 degrees this week, with Sweden's SMHI forecaster saying the hottest days would be Wednesday and Thursday and warning of the increased risk of forest fires.

Despite the soaring temperatures, Sweden's public health agency advised against using fans in communal areas of elderly care homes out of concern they could spread the virus.

They advised installing air conditioning or organising other means of shade to protect the elderly who would also be at risk from the heat.

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TRANSPORT

Warm weather and bad traffic: What to expect in Austria this Ascension Day

As Austria heads into the long holiday weekend, the weather forecast looks good but travellers should expect busy trains and "heavy traffic" on roads.

Warm weather and bad traffic: What to expect in Austria this Ascension Day

Thursday, May 26th, is a public holiday in Austria to mark Ascension Day and many people across the country are planning a trip for the long weekend.

This means roads and trains will be busy as people travel back home to visit family or head to cities like Salzburg and Vienna. 

As a result, the ÖAMTC has warned motorists of “heavy traffic” at the weekend, especially from Wednesday to Friday and again on Sunday.

FOR MEMBERS: UPDATED: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria

Key cross-border and inter-Austria road routes to be affected

The West Autobahn (A1) that runs between Salzburg and Vienna via Linz is expected to be busy this weekend, as well as the Karawanken Tunnel that connects Austria and Slovenia.

ORF reports there is also potential for heavy traffic on the Tauern Autobahn (A10) between Hallein and Werfen in Salzburg, and the ÖAMTC is predicting the Fernpass route (B179) in Tyrol will be overloaded with motorists. 

Additionally, a triathlon is being held in St. Pölten on Sunday and the Daffodil Festival is taking place in the Salzkammergut from Thursday to Sunday. Both events will further add to congestion on roads in those regions.

Anyone travelling by car this weekend – or in fact any other weekend – can find out more about traffic levels on the route via the ÖAMTCs traffic calendar and route planner.

READ MORE: Reader question: Will Austrian trains soon require seat reservations?

Busy trains across Austria

Austria is currently experiencing high demand for train travel and this is expected to continue over the long holiday weekend.

To ensure a seat, national rail operator ÖBB is advising travellers to book a ticket in advance. However, ÖBB has also confirmed there will be an additional 10,000 seats available on Ascension Day (Thursday).

READ ALSO: ‘The pandemic is not over’: Vienna keeps mask rule in public transport

Sunshine and warm temperatures

Despite the high chance of busy roads and trains this weekend there is some good news in that the weather forecast for Austria is good.

On Ascension Day, the weather should be mostly dry with a mixture of sunshine and clouds with temperatures between 18 to 26 degrees. There is a possibility of thunder storms in the mountains and Vienna is expected to be windy.

On Friday, the maximum temperature is forecast to be between 20 to 29 degrees but the weekend will be cooler with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees across the country.

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