Europe’s Record-Breaking Heat Could Be Bad News for Notre Dame

Historical architect worries that soaked stone walls could dry too quickly, collapse

Architects fear Notre-Dame could be further damaged by the heatwave.

Europe is sweltering amid a heat wave that’s overheating bodies and breaking records, with the AP reporting that people were cooling off in any handy body of water including public fountains and the sea.

A fire erupted on the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019

The Guardian reports that the Netherlands and Belgium both broke all-time heat records in what it calls “the second extreme heatwave in consecutive months to be linked by scientists to the climate emergency.” A look around the hellscape:

A man cools off in a fountain in Rome, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Europeans are jumping into public fountains and the sea to keep cool as parts of Europe could see a record-breaking heat wave. 

The cause: An “omega block,” per the Guardian. Basically, a high-pressure system that blocks the jet stream and lets a bunch of hot air blow north into Europe from Northern Africa. The same phenomenon just gave Europe its hottest June on record.

The Netherlands: The southern city of Tilburg hit 102 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday, breaking the record 101.5 degrees set in August 1944.

Belgium: Belgium was under a code red temp alert for the entire country, and broke its record with 102 degrees.

France: Bordeaux notched the hottest temp since records began on Tuesday, at a steamy 106.2 degrees. Paris is bracing for 107.6 degrees on Thursday.

Notre Dame: Paris’ vaunted cathedral could be in serious trouble again with this heat wave. The problem, per the AP: The stone walls are still soaked with water from the devastating fire, and while they’re so far stable, France’s chief architect of historic monuments warns that “what I fear is that the joints or the masonry, as they dry, lose their cohesion … and all of sudden, the vault gives way.”