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STORM

Two dead in Austria as storm wrecks marquee

Two people were killed in Austria and 120 injured, 20 of them seriously, when an "extreme" storm wrecked a large marquee, police said on Saturday.

Two dead in Austria as storm wrecks marquee
Photo: dleindecdp/Depositphotos
The accident happened late on Friday when around 650 people were celebrating inside the tent in Sankt Johann am Walde in the north of the country.
 
“(The) extreme storm tore away most of the tent,” a statement said. “The two people were killed by flying debris including the tent scaffolding.”
 
Those killed were a 19-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man, both from the local area.
 
Storms barrelling through Austria on Friday night caused widespread havoc elsewhere, temporarily cutting off power to 150,000 households with winds of up to 126 kilometres (78 miles) per hour.
 
Two people were hurt in Salzburg by falling pieces of scaffolding while elsewhere flying objects and falling trees caused numerous car accidents and blocked train lines.
 
In the historic central spa town of Bad Ischl, a circus tent was destroyed, giving a taste of freedom to a number of performing goats and ponies that briefly escaped.
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WEATHER

How to avoid getting heat exhaustion in Austria’s scorching weather

As Austria swelters in increasingly hot temperatures, it's important to keep an eye out for heat exhaustion and look after those, such as children and the elderly, who may be more susceptible to heat-related problems.

How to avoid getting heat exhaustion in Austria's scorching weather

Temperatures rose to highs of 37C in some parts of Austria on Friday. And although we’re going some respite from the heatwave with cooler temperatures forecast for the coming week, the trend for warmer summers is clearly on the up.

According to data from Austrian meteorology institute ZAMG, the number of days with temperatures of at least 30C has risen dramatically over the last few decades.

From 1961 to 1990, there were between three and 12 hot days per year in the Austrian provincial capitals, with a maximum of 20 hot days; and from 1991 to 2020, there were between nine and 23 hot days.

And, this year, July’s heatwave has led to an increase in excess deaths.

Deaths rose in the third week of July – which saw very high temperatures – after falling following April’s Omicron wave, according to Statistics Austria.

Over those seven days, 1,827 people died in Austria – 275 more than in the previous week and 24 percent more than the average of that period from 2015 – 2019 (ie pre-Covid), Statistics Austria General Director Tobias Thomas said.

So what we can do to prevent becoming unwell from the heat?

Older people, children and those with long-term health conditions (such as heart problems) can be particularly susceptible to health issues related to hot and humid weather, such as heat exhaustion, dehydration and heatstroke because it can be harder for their bodies to stay cool.  

It’s therefore a good idea to check in on relatives, friends and neighbours when temperatures are spiralling, if you can.

The typical symptoms of heat exhaustion to look out for include excessive sweating and clammy skin, dizziness and confusion, drowsiness, nausea, a rapid heart beat and/or breathing, headache, muscle cramps, increased thirst and a temperature of 38C or higher. 

Children may also become floppy and sleepy.

It’s really important to cool someone down quickly if they’re showing these symptoms to avoid them developing heatstroke, which can be very serious if it’s not dealt with quickly.

So how can you do that?

Move them somewhere cool, ask them to lie down with their feet slightly raised, get them to drink lots of water and cool their skin with water and/or fans.

To stop things getting to this stage and to avoid becoming dehydrated, health experts recommend drinking plenty of cold drinks; taking cool showers (or baths); keeping blinds/curtains closed at home during the hottest parts of the day and only ventilating rooms when the air temperature is cool; using fans to move air around; wearing pale, loose clothes; sprinkling water over skin and clothes; staying out of the sun at its hottest time (11am – 3pm); not drinking too much alcohol or overdoing the exercise.  

Don’t forget: Austria has a ‘heat’ hotline people can call for personal advice on how to best protect themselves from the heat under the free hotline 050 555 555. In addition, if you or someone you know shows any signs of heat stroke or other health problems, call the country’s health number on 1450.

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