Friday, August 08, 2003

Most of western and central Europe continued to bake under record-breaking temperatures today, and it wasn't only animals that were suffering.

The heat has been blamed for the deaths of more than 30 people, and the misery of millions. It also has slowed rail traffic in Britain, threatened to halt shipping on rivers in Germany and spawned forest fires in France and Spain.

The temperature reached 104 degrees in Paris, the highest on record. It touched 95 in London, 97 in Frankfurt, 98 in Geneva and 91 in usually cool and rainy Amsterdam.

Caused by a front from North Africa, the heat will probably persist for at least the next few days, meteorologists said, and possibly until September, although some areas reported the first signs of a slight cooling trend. However long, it will be too long for millions of Europeans who live in its embrace, for the most part without air conditioning.

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