Fires in brushland or scrubland. Credit: georgeburba

Europe battered by weather extremes

24 July 2007 00:00 UTC

Fires in brushland or scrubland. Credit: georgeburba
Fires in brushland or scrubland. Credit: georgeburba

Europe battered by weather extremes (cold and wet in the north, hot and fires in the south) in July 2007.

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Published on

24 July 2007

By Jochen Kerkmann (EUMETSAT) and Jarno Schipper (ZAMG)

Weather extremes battered Europe in July 2007 as torrential rains flooded England, while southern and eastern Europe roasted in a heatwave that fanned numerous forest fires (for the synoptic situation, see  Met-9 Airmass RGB image from 26 July 2007, 12:00 UTC).

The Met Office revealed on 26 July that the three months from May to July 2007 had broken records for this period. Provisional figures from the Met Office showed that 387.6mm of rain had fallen across England and Wales, making it the wettest May to July since England and Wales precipitation records began in 1766.

At the same time, soaring temperatures across southern and eastern Europe claimed many lives and caused forest fires to break out across southern Europe. Temperatures of 40°C were recorded in the region, with a record high of 45°C  in Bulgaria.

Many thousands of acres of forest were torched in Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece. The fires ignited in tinderbox conditions worsened by last winter's extended drought. In southern Greece, dozens of villages had their power supply cut and many roads were closed because of the forest fires.

At the same time, Italy was suffering from the worst fires of the last decades (in particular, Puglia, Calabria and Sardegna).

The satellite image below shows both the fires (hot spots in red) and the smoke from the numerous fires across southern Europe. The evolution of the fires/smoke is easily seen in the animations. The fires are also visible through Metop's AVHRR channel 3b (IR3.7) at night-time. Two examples (black-and-white images not geolocated) are given under additional content.


Europe battered by weather extremes
Figure 1: Meteosat-9 RGB Composite IR3.9, VIS0.6, HRV, 24 July 2007, 16:00 UTC. Source: ZAMG
Forest fires in Southern Europe
Figure 2: Metop-A AVHRR Channel 3b (IR3.7), 25 July 2007 20:24 UTC
Forest fires in south-east Europe
Figure 3: Meteosat-9 enhanced HRV, 26 July 05:00 UTC

Additional content

Met-9 Channel 04 (IR3.9) image (24 July 2007, 16:00 UTC)
Active Fire Monitoring (FIR) product (24 July 2007, 16:00 UTC)
Met-9 IR3.9 Animation (24 July 2007, 15:00–17:00 UTC)
Met-9 RGB VIS0.6, HRV, IR10.8 Animation (24 July 2007, 14:30–17:45 UTC)
Metop-A AVHRR Channel 3b (IR3.7)image (24 July 2007, 20:45 UTC)