Record Temps in Europe's Far North

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- Temperatures in Europe's far north are breaking records, prompting Scandinavians to take dips in fjords well ahead of the official start of summer next month.

In the municipality of Etne, on Norway's west coast, the mercury hit 32.7 C (90.8 F) on Wednesday, a record for May.

In Denmark, May has already broken records for sunshine, with 348 hours recorded by Wednesday — expected to reach 360 on Thursday. The previous high was 347.

A temperature record from 1889 — when Denmark's Meteorological Institute started recording temperatures — is likely to be broken when an average of 15-15.1 C (59-59.1 F) for May is likely to be logged at the end of Thursday, beating the current May record, which was 13.8 degrees C (56.8 F), spokesman Mikael Scharling said.

"The reason for the warm weather is that there has been high pressure that has been over northern Europe since the beginning of May and has been keeping low pressure away," Scharling told The Associated Press.

Scharling said it was too early to say whether the early summer-like temperature were somehow connected to global warming, saying "we need to analyze that a lot more."

"What we can say that is that we have seen warmer temperatures for the month of May since 2000," he added.

People took dips in harbors and fjords across southern Norway, and bans on open fires because of dry forests and grass have been issued in both southern Norway and Sweden.

In Poland and northern Germany, an unusually hot May has been reported with farmers complaining of damage caused by dry weather to crops such as rapeseed oil.

(KA)