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Heat Wave Bakes Heart of Europe

June 19, 2013, 5:32:31 AM EDT

A withering early summer heart wave has sent temperatures soaring throughout central Europe since Monday.

Wednesday, excessive heat spread northward from the Alps to nearly all of Germany, where some hot spots topped 35 degrees C (95 degrees F). For a wide area surrounding the Alps, it was the third straight day of readings hitting 30 to 35 degrees C (86-95 degrees F).

Among the leaders for high temperature, Mulhouse, France, and Hohenems, Austria, reached 36 degrees C (97 F) on Monday. Tuesday, Sion, Switzerland, hit the searing 36-degree mark. However, the reading of 38.5 degree C (101 degrees F) in Ajaccio, Corsica, may have been tops in Europe.

Wednesday, with some heating time left the day, the temperature in Frankfurt, Germany, had reached at least 35 degrees C, as had Salzburg, Austria. Readings around Berlin were at least 33 degrees C, and Kiel was near 34 degrees C (93 F).


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Meanwhile, the means for breaking the heat, low pressure and a linked cold front, spread over France on Wednesday, tracking northwards. Ahead of the eastward-swinging front, the axis of heat was set to reach eastern Germany through Austria on Thursday, then Hungary through Poland on Friday.

Strong, potentially damaging thunderstorms were forecast along the east-bound cold front. Wednesday, the at-risk corridor was from northwestern Germany and eastern Netherlands through eastern France and much of Switzerland.

Strong thunderstorms were seen as a continued threat Thursday over eastern Belgium and Netherlands through central Germany, with the threat shifting to eastern Germany and even Denmark in the afternoon and evening.

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