Dutch thermometers top 40 degrees for first time ever after brief debate

Kids playing in a fountain
Kids playing in a fountainPhoto: kingqjl/DepositPhotos

For the first time in the country's recorded weather history, temperatures in the Netherlands climbed higher than 40 degrees again setting a new heat record on Thursday. A weather station at the Gilze-Rijen Air Base hit 40.4 degrees at 2:54 p.m, where the country's record was broken with a 39.4 degree reading at 2:40 p.m., and 39.6 degrees 10 minutes later.

At 1:55 p.m. thermometers appeared to climb up to 41.7 degrees in Deelen, apparently breaking the record of 39.3 degrees measured in Eindhoven on Wednesday, according to meteorological institute KNMI. Before Wednesday this record was 38.6 degrees measured in Warnsveld on August 23rd, 1944.

The Deelen, Gelderland weather station then topped out at 42.1 degrees by 2:10 p.m. before sliding slid back to 37.4 degrees at 2:40 p.m.

Initial results in Deelen prompted multiple news outlets, including NL Times, to report that temperatures hit 40 for the first time ever in the country. Dutch weather site Weerplaza said the data was questionable as the temperature at the location, in the middle of the Veluwe, rose nearly two degrees in 15 minutes. KNMI acknowledged to the Volkskrant that the temperature reading "rose unbelievably fast," a spokesperson said. The weather agency retracted the 42-degree result minutes later.

Nevertheless, today is also the hottest July 25th ever measured in the Netherlands, the third consecutive day to break a heat record this week. The record was broken at 11:30 a.m., when temperatures climbed to 31.8 degrees in De Bilt. At 2:00 p.m. it was 36.0 degrees in De Bilt. 

So far this year 10 records for hottest date ever have been broken, four in February, three in June and three so far in July. Not one cold record has been broken this year, according to Weeronline. "A heat record in itself says nothing about climate change, but the relationship between cold records and heat records says a lot", the weather service explained. "In this century, there are eight heat records for each cold record."

Public health institute RIVM issued smog alarm for Noord-Brabant, Zuid-Holland, Limburg, Zeeland, Noord-Holland, Flevoland and Utrecht. The air quality in parts of these provinces will be "very poor" this afternoon and early evening. The poor air quality can affect everyone, but especially people with respiratory issues are advised to stay indoors - provided that it is cool enough inside. 

NS is currently running fewer trains on three busy routes - the high speed line between Amsterdam, Schiphol and Rotterdam, between Amsterdam and Eindhoven, and between Eindhoven and Heerlen. The rail company is dealing with capacity problems because trains were exposed to the heat for a long time on Wednesday and therefore need extra maintenance on Thursday.

Meteorological institute KNMI issued a code orange warning for extreme heat for the entire country except the Wadden area, where a code yellow warning is in place. The warning will remain in effect until at least Saturday. "There is persistent heat with little cooling during the nights", the meteorological institute warns. "Pay extra care and attention to vulnerable people in your area. Take measures: stay hydrated. Keep yourself and your home cool. Limit physical exertion. Take water with you when you travel."

Public health institute RIVM implemented the National Heat Plan - a warning for everyone to be aware of the risks posed by persistent heat. It is also a call for people to look after each other, especially vulnerable groups like the elderly, babies and toddlers, people with chronic diseases, overweight people, and people in social isolation. Be alert to overheating, sunstroke and dehydration. Symptoms include fatigue, concentration problems, lightheadedness or dizziness, and headaches. 

The large municipalities call on their residents to adhere to the heat plan, with Amsterdam adding the reminder to not leave children and pets in the car.