A heat wave named Lucifer

hoteuropeTemperatures across southern Europe have been so hot in recent days – climbing to more than 40 C in some areas – the heat wave has been called “Lucifer”.

Several deaths have been reported and severe weather warnings have been issued in Spain, France, Italy and the Balkan States.

Serbia’s capital Belgrade reached a scorching 39 C and train service in the southern part of the country was halted after rail tracks buckled in the extreme heat.

By contrast, northern Europe has been much cooler and wetter with the thermometer dropping as low as 4 C in the Scottish Highlands.

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Europe cold snap ruins crops

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Snow falls along Mediterranean Sea at Javea, Alicante, Spain, 18 Jan 2017 (Facebook)

A combination of cold temperatures, flooding and lack of sunlight has been ruining crops across key agriculture areas in southern Europe.

The heaviest rain in 30 years has flooded the Murcia region of southeast Spain and severe cold and snow in central Italy have nearly wiped out vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, eggplants and zucchinis.

The shortages have significantly increased food prices across northern Europe as suppliers scramble to meet demand.

Measurable snow has also blanketed the coast of the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since the early 1980s.

The cold snap has claimed more than 65 lives across Europe this month.