Experts have warned the Notre Dame cathedral’s ceiling may be weak to the point of collapse following a record-breaking heatwave that continues to sweep across Europe.
On Thursday, Paris recorded it’s highest ever temperature, with the mercury reaching a staggering 108.7 Fahrenheit. With that scorching heat comes obvious health dangers, but experts insist that it also poses a risk to the structural integrity of the Cathedral, which was largely destroyed in a fire earlier this year.
Philippe Villeneuve, the chief architect of France’s historic monuments, noted that the fated building’s walls are still saturated with water after being doused by firefighters in a bid to save the structure. But if the walls dry to quickly under the intense heat, the church’s structural integrity could become compromised.
“What I fear is that the joints or the masonry, as they dry, lose their cohesion… and all of sudden, the vault gives way,” he said, according to Sky News.
Europe continues to melt
Elsewhere in Europe, temperatures have been soaring, as Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands all reached new record highs, of 41.8C, 41.5C, 40.8C and 40.7C.
In the United Kingdom, the weather services are currently validating a reading which would also surpass the country’s previous temperatures highs.
What is causing it high pressure system which is drawing hot air from the Sahara desert air is trapped between colder stormy systems and is forming a “little heat dome” over Europe, according to Ryan Maue, a private meteorologist in the US.
Has anyone died?
While the official death toll resulting from the heatwave is still to be determined, officials believe that many are likely to have perished from the scorching temperatures. At least five deaths have been recorded in France over the last few days. During a 2018 heatwave in the Netherlands, some 300 people died over just three weeks, according to The Economist.
Public transport systems have been severely affected by the heat, with the French government urging people to stay home from work rather than risk traveling in such extreme conditions.
At London’s main airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, it has been pandemonium as the combination of extreme heat and thunderstorms has caused widespread cancellations and delays.
“I still don’t know where my bags are and I’ve no idea what to do when I finally get to Singapore because I’ve missed my connecting flight by ages,” one weary passenger told the BBC.
“When the flight was cancelled last night there was a line of about 300 to 400 people and no-one really knew what was going on. There was one person at the check in desk.”