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Nordic countries sizzle amid record-breaking heatwave

This image taken on June 26, 2019 shows a walrus licking an ice cake packed with fish and shrimps at the Tierpark Hagenbeck zoo in Hamburg, northern Germany as a record- breaking blast of hot air from northern Africa heads to northern Europe. (Photo by AFP)

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

Laksfors in northern Norway on Saturday recorded a temperature of 35.6 degrees Celsius, equaling 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 neighboring Sweden, with most extreme heat in the country's far north.

On Friday the small town of Markusvinsa in the far north recorded a temperature of 34.8 degrees Celsius.

"That's the hottest temperature in the far north since 1945 and the third highest temperature on record," Jon Jorpeland, 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 Jorpeland, 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 of potential water shortages in August in 15 of the country's 21 counties.

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 could approach the record losses recorded in 2012, the organization said, citing scientists from the Danish Meteorological Institute.

(Source: AFP)

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