Britain is basking in 31C heat, three people have died from heatstroke in Spain as the mercury reached the mid-40s, and a mountain glacier in Sweden has melted so much that its peak is no longer the country’s highest point.
Europe’s heatwave is not over yet, with temperatures across the UK this weekend forecast to remain at an average of about 27C (80.6F), and highs of 31C a possibility in London.
Alex Burkill, a Met Office meteorologist, said that despite the cooler temperatures of recent days “it is not the end of the hot weather for the summer” as sunshine returns to most of the country.
The Met Office said: “Some flooding of a few homes and businesses is possible, leading to some damage to buildings or structures. There is a good chance driving conditions will be affected by spray, standing water and/or hail, leading to longer journey times by car and bus. Some short-term loss of power and other services is likely.”
Sun-drenched British holidaymakers are enjoying record temperatures on the continent during their summer breaks. Tourists are being urged to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day and remember that children are particularly susceptible to the heat.
Eight places in Portugal broke local temperature records on Friday as a wave of heat from North Africa swept across the Iberian peninsula and officials predicted the scorching temperatures could get even worse over the weekend.
Temperatures built to around 45C (113 F) in many inland areas of Portugal, and were expected to peak at 47C (116.6F) in some places on Saturday. Large sections of Portugal are on red alert on the country’s civil protection agency’s danger scale.
The highest temperature recorded on Thursday, when the heat began to rise, was 45.2 C (113.4 F) near Abrantes, a town 150km (93 miles) north-east of the capital, Lisbon, the country’s weather agency IPMA said.
In Spain three men died of heatstroke. A middle-aged man in Barcelona was found collapsed on a street and taken to hospital where he later died. Two other men – a roadworker in his 40s and a 78-year-old pensioner – also died from heatstroke.
Heat warnings were also issued for 41 of the country’s 50 provinces as temperatures were expected to reach up to 44C . Spain’s highest recorded temperature is 46.9C in Cordoba, a southern city, in July 2017.
Experts have said the highest temperature ever recorded in continental Europe – 48C in Athens in 1977 – could be topped this weekend.
The International Red Cross has called on people to check on older relatives and neighbours.
Sweden had its hottest July in 250 years, and while meteorologists were forecasting cooler temperatures and thunderstorms across the country on Saturday there may be no return to heights in excess of 2,000m for the Kebnekaise mountain, whose shrinkage has raised concerns about the rapid pace of climate change.