Temperatures have reached 43 degrees Celcius in parts of Europe over the last few days and France may reach its highest-ever recorded temperature on Friday, with temperatures expected to exceed 45 C.
The current record is 44.1 C, which was recorded during a heatwave in 2003, which killed thousands of people.
France’s national weather service has issued an unprecedented red alert warning for four regions in the south and remainder of the country remains on orange alert, the second-highest level.
In southern France, areas of Gard, Vaucluse, Herault, and Bouches-du-Rhone are expected to see temperatures between 42 C and 45 C today, Friday 28th of June.
French authorities have stepped up restrictions on water use to combat the heatwave’s effects, while hundreds of schools have been closed.
Other countries including Germany, France, Poland, and the Czech Republic have all recorded their highest-ever June temperatures, and in Spain, firefighters are battling Catalonia’s worst wildfires in 20 years.
Temperatures climbed towards 44 degrees in parts of northern Spain and southern France on Thursday (local time), driving many people to seek relief in the sea, rivers, lakes, fountains and swimming pools.
Neighbouring France has set a record temperature for the month of June, at 41.9 degrees, a spokeswoman for national weather service Meteo France said.
The Italian Health Ministry said seven cities, including Florence, Rome, and Turin already were at Italy’s highest heat warning level on Thursday. On Friday, 16 cities will be under alerts for high temperatures.
Italian authorities instructed people to avoid being outside during the hottest hours of the day and to stay away from areas with a lot of vehicle traffic to prevent ozone exposure.
Meteorologists say hot air drawn in from northern Africa is responsible, caused by high pressure over central Europe and a storm stalling over the Atlantic.
Temperatures in Greece will be in the mid to high 30’s today, however, it is not expected to reach the 40 C mark.
In Athens, the temperature will range from 26 to 36 degrees Celsius, as well as in Macedonia, Thrace, Ionian Islands, and the Peloponnese. In the Aegean and the Dodecanese, temperatures will reach 35 degrees Celsius, while in the Cyclades and Crete temperatures will be a bit lower, reaching around 31 C.
It is advised that the elderly and babies stay indoors during the peak of the day and anyone planning to go outside in the heat should be prepared with hats, sunscreen, and plenty of water.