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Nordic countries sizzle as European heatwave moves north

Nordic countries experienced searing temperatures as Europe's record-breaking heatwave moved north, with Norway on Saturday equalling its 1970 record, and many areas recording "tropical nights".

Nordic countries sizzle as European heatwave moves north
Gothenburg in the heat. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Laksfors in northern Norway on Saturday recorded a temperature of 35.6 degrees Celsius, equalling the national record set in Nesbyen in 1970, the country's meteorology service said on Twitter, adding however that the Meteorological Institute needed to “double check” that the measuring station was operating properly.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute also said it had recorded “tropical nights” in 20 different locations in southern Norway, meaning that temperatures stayed above 20 degrees throughout the night.

The tropical heat was also felt around other parts of the Nordics and in neighbouring Sweden, the most extreme heat headed straight for the country's far north.

On Friday the small town of Markusvinsa in the far north recorded a temperature of 34.8 degrees Celsius, the highest mark reached in all of Sweden so far this year.

“That's the hottest temperature in the far north since 1945 and the third highest temperature on record,” Jon Jörpeland, meteorologist at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), told AFP.

Earlier in the week several places in Sweden also experienced “tropical nights”. 

According to Jörpeland, temperatures in the south of Sweden haven't been as extreme and it's not unusual that the mercury reaches 30 degrees a few days a year in the country, even though current temperatures are above average.

SMHI has also issued warnings for potential water shortages in August in 15 of the country's 21 counties.

The tropical heat was also being felt in other Nordic countries and heat warnings have been issued in Sweden, Norway and Finland and earlier this week Finnish police even warned motorists to be mindful of moose, who were increasingly crossing roads in search of water to quench their thirst.

The World Meteorological Organization on Thursday said forecasts indicated that atmospheric flows would transport the heat from Europe to Greenland “resulting in high temperatures and consequently enhanced melting”.

Current predictions indicate the resulting melting of ice cooled approach the record losses recorded in 2012, the organisation said, citing scientists from the Danish Meteorological Institute.

READ ALSO: Sweden heatwave: Barbecue bans and weather warnings as temperatures set to top 30°C

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WEATHER

Partial lunar eclipse to be visible over parts of Norway

People in parts of Norway may be able to witness a partial lunar eclipse on Friday. 

Pictured is a lunar eclipse
Friday will see a partial lunar eclipse over Norway. Pictured is a lunar eclipse. Photo by Roger Starnes Sr on Unsplash

On Friday morning, the sun, the earth and the moon will align, causing a partial lunar eclipse. Friday’s celestial showcase will be an almost total lunar eclipse, with only a tiny part of the moon not ending up in the earth’s shadow. 

The eclipse will be most visible at 10:03am, when 98 percent of the moon will be in shadow. 

The moon will take on a reddish tinge as sunlight that passes through the earth’s atmosphere will be refracted back onto the moon. 

People in the north of Norway will have the best eclipse experience because the moon doesn’t go down until later in the morning at higher latitudes. The weather will also be better further north, according to forecasts. 

Residents of east and west Norway hoping for a show may have their views hindered by clouds. 

“If you are lucky, you’ll be able to see it from several parts of the country,” Randveig Eikhild from the Meteorological Institute told public broadcaster NRK

The best place to see the eclipse will be somewhere with a good clear view of the horizon, without mountains, hills or buildings in the way. 

For those in the south, where the view may not be the best due to the brighter mornings, there’s another celestial event on Friday that they will be able to witness. 

Once the sun goes down, gas giants Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in the night sky and very close together. Saturn won’t be visible from the north, however. 

“Jupiter and Saturn are quite close to each other and are beautiful in the fall. However, they are not always as close as they are now. It can be a very nice sight,” Pål Brekke, from the Norwegian Space Centre, explained to NRK. 

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