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Heat wave sizzles North America, Europe

  • Source: Global Times
  • [01:03 July 08 2010]
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Children cool off in a fountain at Parque das Nacoes place Tuesday during a hot sunny day in downtown Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: AFP

By Li Jing and Sun Yuwei

A heat wave has hit North America and Europe, as governments in the two continents have adopted urgent measures in response to the scorching weather.

The US East Coast and parts of the Midwest, have seen temperatures reaching 38 C and higher, pushing power companies to the limit, and driving residents to municipal "cooling centers," AFP said.

High temperatures caused at least two deaths in the US on Tuesday.

The excessive heat bent one of the rails on Washington, DC's Metro system, slowing train speeds on a stretch of track on the system's highly traveled Red Line, USA Today reported Wednesday.

New York authorities advised residents to use parks and outdoor pools rather than opening fire hydrants to cool off, calling on locals to reduce electricity use during the peak hours of 1 pm and 7 pm, and to keep "strenuous activity" to between 4 pm and 7 am, AFP reported.

Officials in Maine also reminded people to leave their pets at home, while leaving the air conditioning on to ensure animals' well-being.

Officials in Quebec offered three simple tips: Stay cool indoors, keep hydrated and take it easy on the physical activity.

In Toronto, authorities have opened up cooling centers for people needing a place to get out of the sun. In Montreal, swimming pools and children's splash pads are also staying open longer.

Meanwhile, French authorities are also on alert to avoid a repeat of the high number of fatalities among the elderly in the particularly severe 2003 heat wave, France 24 reported.

The Belgian capital Brussels saw its hottest day since 1976, and Germany has also experienced high temperatures for the past week.

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