Heat Brings a Wave of Misery to Europeans

Associated Press Writer

How hot is it? So hot that there was an ice cream shortage in Sweden. So hot that Polish lawmakers held a special Mass to pray for rain.

Europe, from north to south, east to west, has sizzled through July with power outages and scores of deaths. The heat wave even brought a sinister reminder of the past, with officials in eastern Germany warning that World War II munitions might surface as river levels dropped.

In Ireland, where the average temperature in July is normally 59 degrees, the temperature soared to 88 on July 19 -- the hottest since August 1995.

“It’s amazing how quickly we’ve got used to it. We seem to think we’re Mediterranean now,” said Brendan O’Connor, a newspaper and TV satirist. “There’s even a danger that we’ll start drinking sensibly.”


Records were set elsewhere too. Germany and Britain experienced the hottest July on record. In Britain, roads melted.

Throughout July, temperatures cruised in the high 90s to more than 100 in Europe -- high for a continent where air conditioning is the exception.

In Poland, lawmakers held a Mass to pray for rain. Storms were forecast for the weekend.