Netherlands sees first official heat wave in two years, municipalities unprepared
For the first time in two years, there is an official heat wave in the Netherlands –– but municipalities are underprepared for extreme heat, according to Trouw.
At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, a temperature of 25.0 degrees was measured in De Bilt, which means that the conditions for a heat wave have been met, Weeronline reports. For an official heat wave, it must be 25 degrees or more in De Bilt for five days in a row and on three days of this the temperature must rise to 30 degrees or more. Since Tuesday, the maximums have exceeded 25 degrees and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday it became tropical weather.
Meanwhile, only around 30 of the nearly 350 municipalities in the Netherlands have created plans for how to deal with extreme heat, which experts say will be an increasingly urgent problem with climate change. According to Trouw, extreme heat can be especially deadly for vulnerable communities such as elderly people, who will need extra care amid staff shortages and summer vacations.
There are even fewer policies for how to mitigate heat issues in homes and public places, Trouw reports. Experts find this troubling, since around 650 people died during the heat wave of 2020.
“Heat is one of the most dangerous climate risks. Too little and too late work is being done to prevent serious problems," Madeleen Helmer, heat stress expert at the Climate Alliance, told Trouw.
Historically, the Netherlands has been more concerned with developing plans for flooding, and has not had to deal with heat as much, experts told Trouw. However, this is changing and more resources need to be allocated to dealing with extreme heat, Helmer said.
Last year there was no heat wave in De Bilt. The heat wave of 2020 lasted from Aug. 5-17. The heat wave will continue for several more days, rising above 30 degrees again on Saturday and Sunday in De Bilt. The chance of showers will increase in the following days, but the mercury will still likely remain above 25 degrees for a few days.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times