Europe 2003: A Lethal Heat Wave

The world's most deadly heat wave to date hit Europe in 2003. It's since been considered the hottest European summer in five centuries. High temperatures broke records in many counties - England hit a historical high of 100.6 in Gravesend-Broadness, Kent. Not to be outdone, Germany hit a steamy 104.4 on August 8th.

The extreme heat led to a tragic loss of life. A staggering 27,000 people died as a result of the overwhelming and unrelenting heat - breaking all records for heat-induced deaths. In France alone, more than 14,000 people died.

Survivors of the intense heat wave also suffered. Dehydration, heat stroke and fevers were most common. Advanced stages of shock were hard for medical experts to treat. Some suffered irreversible brain damage from advance-stage fevers.

And then there's the mounting medical costs. The heat wave forced French government officials to earmark an extra $45M for elderly people and hospitals - prompting health officials to pump up the country's health spending by $6.8B over five years.

There have always been heat waves in the past but as global temperatures continue to rise, heat waves like these are going to become all too common.