The Netherlands swelters in first official heatwave of 2020
For the past few days, a sweltering heatwave has taken over the Netherlands, with temperatures consistently rising above 30 degrees. The heatwave is expected to last throughout the week.
First official heatwave of the year
A national heatwave only becomes “official” if temperatures in De Bilt (a town near Utrecht) stay above 25 degrees for at least five days, with three of those days seeing temperatures above 30 degrees. Between August 5 and August 9, the maximum temperatures in De Bilt have been: 28,3 degrees, 31 degrees, 34 degrees, 34,6 degrees, and 32,6 degrees.
The last official heatwave in the Netherlands was in August 2019. The current heatwave is the 29th one recorded in the Netherlands since records began in 1901. The longest Dutch heatwave was in 1975 between July 29 and August 15.
According to Weeronline, the temperature of 32,6 degrees reached in De Bilt on Sunday afternoon made August 9, 2020 the hottest August 9 ever recorded. The previous record was 32,5 degrees, recroded in 2004.
Weeronline expects the heatwave to continue throughout the week. Thursday, August 13 should still see temperatures above 30 degrees, but rain and thunderstorms are also expected. On Friday, temperatures are expected to drop slightly, but will likely remain above 25 degrees. The heatwave will not officially end until temperatures stay below 25 degrees, which Weeronline predicts will happen on Saturday, August 15.
Busy beaches and parks closed
The hot weather meant several people flocked to parks and beaches over the weekend, resulting in municipalities closing roads and parks to prevent overcrowding. The roads leading to Scheveningen and Kijkduin were temporarily closed on Sunday afternoon due to high levels of traffic. All drivers were told to turn around and head back home.
Zuiderpark in Rotterdam was closed by the municipality on Sunday evening as the park had become too busy. It reopened at 7am on Monday morning. Similarly, Park Somerlust in Amsterdam was closed on Sunday afternoon for the second time in one week. The municipality of Amsterdam called on people not to go the park, and asked people to maintain distance and avoid crowds to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
Four men drown at Dutch beaches
Sadly, while people up and down the country while trying to make the most of the weather, or indeed hide from the blistering sunshine, tragedy struck at a handful of beaches along the Dutch coast. Four men died in four separate incidents as a result of dangerous currents.
A 28-year-old man and a 24-year-old man fell victim to the dangerous swimming conditions in The Hague on Sunday afternoon. On Sunday evening, a 50-year-old man was removed from the water in Wijk aan Zee, and a man in his 20s in Zandvoort could also sadly not be saved. According to the Rescue Brigade, 268 people had to be rescued from the sea by 9pm on Sunday, and in at least 37 of those cases, people had to be rescued from life-threatening situations.
A spokesperson for the Rescue Brigade in The Hague said it was a combination of offshore wind and currents which made the sea “very treacherous”. Consequently, the red flag was raised along the entire Dutch coast, from Hoek van Holland to Den Helder, meaning it is forbidden to enter the sea. Anyone still planning a trip to the beach should note that these warnings remain in place for Monday, August 10.
In Amsterdam, a 19-year-old German tourist tragically drowned in the Amstel, and a 24-year-old man was shot at popular Amsterdam beach, De Nieuwe Meer, on Saturday afternoon, after he attempted to stop a robbery. The suspect has not yet been caught.