heat wave brought with it environmental, health, transport and economical
problems. Wild fires were a major hazard in rural areas and at roadsides
where vegetation had become tinder dry. Air pollution and smog levels
were high due to increased sunlight and car fumes, while many suffered
from dehydration and heat stroke. In France, the
death toll totalled 11,000, mainly elderly people who could not withstand
temperatures reaching 40ºC. Speed restrictions were enforced
on train lines in southern England during the middle of the day over
fears that the rails may buckle in the heat. The total cost to the
economy was estimated to reach £300 million due to absenteeism
from work, falling sales in shops and transport chaos.
scientists believe that the high temperatures of 2003 were an indication
warming. It is predicted that such hot summers may occur twice
every three years in 70 years time.