Britain hotter than 1976 as Spanish winds blow furnace heat

Euro scorcher: European heatwave could reach all time highs with temperatures expected to reach a sizzling 48C this weekend

The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe was 48°C in Athens in 1977, closely followed by 47.3°C in Amareleja, Portugal in 2003 as well as in Montoro, Spain previous year.

"The South and East will be hottest and it will be a warm weekend for most, although cooler in the North".

Portugal and Spain were sweltering Saturday under an intense heat wave that has produced near-record temperatures in the southern European countries.

In France the first Saturday in August is called "Black Saturday", with holiday traffic jams on all routes, this year accompanied by extreme heat.

Many parts of Spain are expected to experience extreme heat in the coming days, with red alert warnings for the hot weather covering many parts of the country.

Seeking to prevent more deaths after 114 people were killed in two massive forest blazes a year ago in Portugal, civil protection sent mobile text alerts warning the population of an extreme risk of fires in some regions, including around the capital Lisbon.

The Spanish Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed three deaths this week due to the hot weather. The country's highest ever recorded temperature was 47.4 degrees in 2003.

In Europe: Unprecedented heat led to a rare wildfire outbreak in Scandinavia, and record highs have been set all the way above the Arctic Circle. Spain's all-time record of 46.9 C (116.42 F) was set in Cordoba in July 2017.

Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency warned of "a high risk" for wildfires in central and southern Sweden this weekend because of the continuing dry weather and strong winds.

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From Portugal to Moscow and beyond, temperature predictions as high as 47+ are not beyond the realm of possibility say weather experts.

"Oh it's bad", said tourist Paul Snell.

Across the Iberian Peninsula in Barcelona, where the stifling air barely stirred during the night, Spaniards scurried to the beach with families and friends, along with swarms of sweating tourists.

A 41-year-old man suffered heatstroke while working on the highway close to Murcia, in southeastern Spain, on Wednesday.

The next few days could see the hottest temperatures recorded in continental Europe.

While fires are an annual problem in much of Europe, the hot, dry conditions for an extended period of time made those fires much more likely.

"I've been here in the summer but it has never been this hot". In Sweden, July was a record hot month and wildfires burnt in parts of the country.

June's average United Kingdom maximum temperature was 19.9C, the same as June 1976.

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