Summer heat makes itself felt in the Netherlands
Near-tropical temperatures in Netherlands are beginning to cause problems for the Dutch, who are generally used to more moderate weather.
Rescue services went out on Thursday to help motorists stranded in an 11 kilometre long traffic jam after an accident on the A12 motorway near The Hague. Many drivers forced to stay inside their vehicles on the sun-drenched road were threatening to collapse from dehydration and overheating. Aid workers handed out bottles of water to the unprepared commuters.
Lorries transporting cattle and buses carrying pensioners on an outing were escorted out of the traffic jam and brought into safety, out of the sweltering heat.
Fires Elsewhere in the country, the dry weather is increasing the risk of forest fires. Fire brigade officials in Limburg province say they have been called to at least 20 fires since Wednesday afternoon, which is ten times the normal average. They are blamed on sparks from barbecues and careless disposal of cigarette stubs.
A power outing in Gelderland province on Thursday morning left tens of thousands of households in the Doetinchem area without electricity. Old age pensioners' homes and hospitals are being supplied with standalone generators to provide power for the aircos which are considered essential given the high ambient temperatures.
Weather services say near-tropical temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius will persist until Saturday. The long-term average high for this time of the year is 21 degrees Celsius.
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