Latvia braced for week-long heatwave

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Temperatures are forecast to soar higher over the weekend, bringing an extended heat wave expected to last until the end of the month, the state Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (LVĢMC) said Friday.

LSM weatherman Toms Bricis told public radio listeners Friday morning such a stretch of hot weather is a rare event for Latvia, occurring on an average of once every five years.

The sun will be beating down among scattered cloud cover Saturday and Sunday, with a chance of isolated rain and thundershowers.

Western Kurzeme province should see more clouds than the rest of Latvia. Winds from the southeast will be mild, with sea breezes turning toward coastal areas during the day.

Air temperatures in the whole national territory are expected to rise to between +29 and +32 degrees Celsius, which is the hottest weather since the last July weekend of 2012, when the mercury reached +34 degrees and went down in the records as Latvia’s hottest summer ever.

As usual, western Kurzeme’s gulf shore areas will feel relief from temps a degree or two cooler. Swimmers in the Kurzeme gulf are also reminded that winds from the land tend to push warmed surface waters offshore, causing deeper icy waters to well upwards.

Night-time air temperatures will dip down Friday night to +11 due to the slow winds and clear skies. Beginning Saturday, overnight air temperatures will be about +1 or +2 degrees warmer.

Even hotter air masses are expected to arrive over Latvia next week, with nighttime temperatures not cooling below +20 or +22 degrees. Humidity is forecast to increase, with a greater chance of brief and isolated thunderstorms.

Medics are urging the public to be cautious, especially during the mid-day hours, when physical activity in the sun carries risks of overheating.

Even motorists are being warned about the softening of paved road surfaces, sometimes called “road sweat”, than can cause treacherous slippage while driving.

State highway maintenance company Latvijas autoceļu uzturētājs (LAU) board member Guntis Karps told LTV morning news program Rīta Panorāma that crews are already monitoring 28 road melt sites, which they scatter with sand and chipped debris.

The LAU spokesman said that road sweat was an ordinary annual phenomenon faced by transportation systems in many nations. In Latvia the problem “is not critical”, Karps said. However, he added that drivers should look out for shiny road surfaces during such dry and sweltering conditions and slow down accordingly.


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