It stays hot

Hot days and tropical nights give us a hard time

09.07.2024 15:01

Temperatures well above the 30 degree mark will keep us sweating until the weekend. There's no hope of cooling down at night either - we're facing tropical nights where it won't cool down below 20 degrees. This has an impact on our health. Older people and children are particularly at risk.

Humidity and sultriness as well as a lack of major cooling at night put a strain on the body, but "basically it's the high temperatures", emphasized Wolfgang Schreiber, Chief Physician of the Austrian Red Cross (ÖRK). Although the body has mechanisms to react to heat and cold, it reaches its limits on these days with tropical nights. This particularly affects the elderly and the very young, "especially the elderly, because they have less body water available", as the medical term goes, and because they are often more fragile due to previous illnesses. Seniors and children also sweat less.

"Older people should only go out in the morning when it's cooler if they can't delegate shopping," said Red Cross chief physician Wolfgang Schreiber. Men often have less hair on their heads, and older women also have thinner hair, so a cap or sun hat is advisable. Headgear is also important for children, and direct sunlight on the body should be avoided altogether for very young children. In general, everyone should avoid prolonged exposure to the blazing sun in hot weather - and: "drink enough water - two to three liters throughout the day," advises the emergency physician, but preferably no alcohol.

(Bild: Evelyn Hronek)

Thunderstorms will cool things down from time to time
However, thunderstorms will cool things down from time to time, according to Geosphere Austria. It will be "midsummery, but not constant", says Geosphere meteorologist Sabrina Nujic-Marth. The heat could be interrupted by thunderstorms as early as Wednesday. The risk of thunderstorms is lowest in the south and south-east, away from the mountains. In some places it won't cool down below 22 degrees overnight, with highs of 27 to 36 degrees from west to east, and it will also be quite humid.

The weekly outlook
The weather situation is similar on Thursday. Friday will probably be the hottest day of the week in the east with temperatures of up to 37 degrees. In the west, it will cool down with highs of 25 to around 29 degrees. At the weekend, the west-east gradient will continue with even cooler temperatures in the west of the country. This front will then lie across Austria, but according to the meteorologist it does not look like there will be any lasting cooling, at least in the east. The weather will "probably remain on the midsummer side in the longer term, possibly with a brief dip on Sunday".

Watch out for hot cars

  • The Austrian Transport Association (VCÖ) warned in a press release that parked cars heat up massively within a few minutes on warm days!
  • Leaving children or dogs in them is life-threatening!

Number of hot days has multiplied
The number of hot days with at least 30 degrees has multiplied in Austria in recent decades, according to data from Geosphere. In the period from 1991 to 2020, there were already between 23 hot days in Innsbruck - followed by Vienna and Eisenstadt with 21 - and nine in Bregenz in an average year in the provincial capitals. The records are mostly more than 40 heat days.

In three provincial capitals, there were seven hot days this year up to (yesterday) Monday, namely in Innsbruck, St. Pölten and Eisenstadt. In Vienna, Linz and Graz there have been six so far, in Salzburg and Klagenfurt four and in Bregenz the fewest in line with the long-term average with two heat days so far, reported geosphere climatologist Hans Ressl on Tuesday. On April 7, the earliest heat day in Austrian measurement history was recorded in Bruck an der Mur this year, ten days before the old record from 1934.

Churches and cooling centers offer respite from heat stress
According to a press release, the Red Cross offers cooling centers in Vienna's Millennium City and Shopping Center Nord (SCN). The public can cool down in air-conditioned rooms on deckchairs, and water is also available. There is also respite from the stress of the heat in churches, where the average temperature is ten degrees below the outside temperature, Kathpress reported. It is even cooler in the catacombs and crypts, where temperatures remain constant at between around ten and 19 degrees.

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