Thousands of Brit holidaymakers and expats in Spain and Portugal will pile on to packed beaches as the heatwave peaks
EUROPE is braced for its hottest day since records began today with temperatures likely to soar above the 118F high set 40 years ago.
Thousands of Brit holidaymakers and expats in Spain and Portugal will pile on to packed beaches as the heatwave peaks.
The blistering sunshine is widely tipped to pass the 118.4F (48C) recorded in Athens, Greece, on July 10, 1977.
And the deadly scorcher — driven by an African plume carrying Saharan dust with it — will spark a mini-revival of Britain’s heatwave with temperatures of 88F (31C) expected all weekend.
But it could also lead to a humanitarian crisis across Europe with the number of heat-related deaths likely to rise among the old and sick.
LISBON — Temperatures in Spain and Portugal soared to near-record highs Friday as part of Europe’s heat wave, and governments put emergency services on alert for forest fires.
Iberia’s heat wave, caused by hot air from North Africa, is the most severe since 2003. Elsewhere, summer has brought forest fires and drought to places as far apart as Britain, Scandinavia and Greece.
Temperatures in many parts of Spain and Portugal will remain above 104 degrees Fahrenheit at least until Sunday, and could rise a further 3 or 4 degrees. That could push them above Europe’s previous record high of 118 F, set in Athens in 1977.
The previous record highs in both Spain and Portugal were just over 116 F. In Portugal, local media ran stories on how temperatures could beat Death Valley in California, one of the hottest places on Earth.
“Lisbon will be one of the hottest cities in the world this weekend because it’s 10 in the morning right now and the weather is already way too hot,” said Ana Pascoal, 56, a cleaner at a high-end restaurant. “It really is unbearable.”
Several places in Portugal’s parched southern Alentejo region were forecast to hit 116 F. The country went on high alert in an effort to prevent a repeat of the worst fires in history last year, which killed 114 people.
Francois Jobard, a weather forecaster for Meteo France, said the hot air mass from North Africa “will possibly result in record temperatures in Portugal and Spain with [113 F] expected from now until Saturday, and even hotter than that.”
At the other end of the Mediterranean, Greece was hit by wildfires that killed 91 people last month.