The Czech Republic at the weekend saw a sweltering heat wave. With temperatures reaching the mid to high 30s on Saturday and Sunday, many understandably headed to reservoirs, ponds, and pools to cool off, if not for the whole day, than for at least a few hours.
Those who were able to get pond or poolside this weekend must have considered themselves fairly lucky, diving into the water to cool off. On Sunday, 113 weather stations across the country registered record temperatures, including Prague’s Karlov, which saw 37.5 degrees Celsius. While the overall record for this date (40.4 degrees Celsius) was not broken, the heat was nevertheless sweltering – the hottest day of the year so far. Even at seven in the evening temperatures at Prague’s Podolí swimming facility remained 34 outside and 27 degrees in the water.
Not everyone, including Bedřich Piták – a member of construction crew on the D1 highway near Velká Biteš – had an opportunity to cool off. For him and colleagues, the best to be hoped for was a tiny bit of roadside shade next to heavy machinery.
“This machine is an older model and it hasn’t got air conditioning.”
In places, the heat led to the emergency services being called out to treat incidents of collapse, after some had clearly underestimated the intensity of the heat. Doctor Barbora Zuchová is employed with the emergency services in the Brno area:
“Crews were called out, for example, to an incident where someone fell off their bike, which seemed unrelated. But such cases were also caused by the heat. Total dehydration and then collapse.”
Elsewhere, farms had to cool livestock, spraying animals with water throughout the day, and even the horse races in Pardubice were pushed to earlier in the morning to put horses at lesser risk, with veterinarians preparing to administer infusion therapy if necessary.
Sunday evening, still hot, Czech TV confirmed more than three thousand people were still at Podolí in no apparent rush to get home; others began the return to the capital from a day out, for example, by Lhota Lake, where earlier it had been near impossible to find a parking spot.
“We’re not happy about the traffic but what can we do? It’s really hot today... everyone wants to get into the water to cool off.”
Sunday night brought some relief in the form of storms across parts of the country, including the capital. But on Monday the heat wave continued. Temperatures will now drop somewhat over the course of the week but “tropy” – as tropical conditions are called in Czech – will return again at the weekend. Forecasters are predicting temperatures of up to 34 degrees Celsius, so many will no doubt again head out to try and grab a spot by the water’s edge.