The UK, Portugal, Spain and France are all facing record temperatures this week with little improvement in sight.
Hot conditions will further aggravate the ongoing wildfires in southwest Europe. Level 3 heat warnings, the highest possible, are in place for 14 states in Portugal and eastern Spain through the end of the week.
“Heat warnings have now been issued for most of the country, with temperatures expected to remain consistently high throughout this week,” said Dr. Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at the UK Health Agency.
The UK’s record temperature is 38.7 degrees Celsius (101.7 degrees Fahrenheit), which the Met Office says could be surpassed as early as this weekend.
“Some models produced highs of over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of the UK this coming weekend and beyond,” said Rebekah Sherwin of the Met Office.
As the country prepares, officials warn of the dangers to vulnerable communities.
“It is likely that population-wide adverse health effects will emerge, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, which can result in potentially serious illness or death,” the Met bureau said. “It is likely that significantly more people will visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers, resulting in an increased risk of water security incidents.”
The UK could also face road closures due to melting surfaces, as well as delays to rail and air travel amid the extreme heat.
Spain, Portugal, France and Italy
The heat wave on the Spanish mainland is expected to last until at least the end of the week, Spain’s national weather service announced on Monday.
It’s not just the Iberian Peninsula that’s sweltering in the heat. France is also set to remain hot through the end of the week, with temperatures reaching the mid 30’s. Heat warnings cover parts of eastern France including Toulouse and Bordeaux.
The European area is only too familiar with this. Last month Europe hit record temperatures and the second warmest June on record.
The Italian government last week declared a state of emergency for five northern regions of Italy due to extreme drought conditions.
“Most of us can enjoy the hot weather when it hits, but it’s also important to stay hydrated and find shade if possible when UV rays are at their strongest between 11am and 3pm,” said Dr . Said Sousa. “If you have vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors, make sure they know how to protect themselves from the warm weather.”
The danger of forest fires
So far, 29 people have been injured in 35 forest fires in Portugal, the Portuguese civil protection authority said at a press conference on Saturday.
Portugal’s Critical Fire Period runs from July 1st to September 30th. In the event of extreme fire hazards, burning campfires, rubbish heaps, fireworks, or fire of any kind is prohibited. Some forest areas may also be closed to unauthorized persons.
CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite, Duarte Mendonca, Al Goodman and Benjamin Brown contributed to this report.