British holidaymakers swelter in record-breaking European heatwave
The current record of 48C (118F) in Athens, Greece, in 1977 could be broken as a wave of blisteringly hot air sweeps in from Africa.
British holidaymakers are basking in record temperatures as they enjoy their summer holidays amid an extreme heatwave.
Eight places in the centre, south and east of Portugal have broken their local temperature records as Europe swelters.
On Thursday, temperatures reached 45.2C (113.4F) near Abrantes, a town in the centre of the country.
They are set to build across Portugal on Friday and Saturday, with medical staff and firefighters on standby until the end of the weekend.
In Spain, heat warnings were also issued for 41 of the country’s 50 provinces as temperatures were expected to reach up to 44C (111.2F).
Temperatures in south-west France could also rise to the high 30s.
The mercury is being driven higher by a hot air mass moving north from Africa, bringing dust from the Sahara Desert.
The next few days could see the hottest temperatures recorded in continental Europe.
Luke Miall, a Met Office meteorologist, said the record is 48C (118F) in Athens, Greece, in 1977.
Tourists were urged to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day and remember that children are particularly susceptible.
If you’re heading off to #Spain or #Portugal this week, make sure you drink plenty of water, try and stay safe in the shade and if you’re going out in the sun, wear a high factor sun cream. Check our travel tips on how stay safe in the sun here: https://t.co/Z5FJC5pMWN pic.twitter.com/5tO22v0Sux— ABTA (@ABTAtravel) August 2, 2018
A spokesman for the travel trade association Abta said: “We would advise any tourists setting off to the Iberian peninsula, or anywhere else this weekend where they may experience high temperatures, to take a lead from the locals and avoid spending time in the sun during the hottest part of the day, drink lots of water and apply plenty of sun cream.
“If you go to the beach, go early and when it feels like it’s getting too hot leave, just as the locals do, and go and have a nice lunch in the shade. The reason they do this is because they know how powerful the sun can get in the hottest part of the day and they do everything they can to avoid it.”
It comes as another blast of hot weather returns to parts of the UK.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said the mercury is likely to reach the high 20s and low 30s again, adding that despite the more comfortable temperatures in recent days “it is not the end of the hot weather for the summer”.
Thought it felt hot today? It looks like Gravesend was provisionally the hottest spot in the UK, but the temperatures in Portugal soared to 44.6°C! 🌡️🌡️🌡️ pic.twitter.com/e1wvXiJjvu— Met Office (@metoffice) August 2, 2018
Temperatures could climb back up to 31C in London this weekend, with sunshine returning to most of the country.
Southwark Council said it was suspending the use of barbecues in Burgess Park, south London, after London Fire Brigade warned people to take extra care during the hot weather.
It's set to heat up again this weekend and while we have had some rain - people MUST take care, especially if they're having a BBQ. Just this week we were called to a fire caused by a barbecue on a balcony in #Woolwich You should NEVER BBQ on a balcony https://t.co/o86T9nsEbX pic.twitter.com/UlYSUos9jZ— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) August 3, 2018
The north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will enjoy temperatures in the mid-20s, with scatterings of rain.
A yellow warning for thunderstorms was issued for eastern Scotland on Friday afternoon.
A Met Office spokesman told the Press Association: “Essentially at the end of the week we’re looking at a bit of a north-west/south-east split in the weather.
“Northern and some western areas will often be cooler with some outbreaks of rain – particularly in Northern Ireland – and that could spread into southern and western Scotland.”
Temperatures are likely to hit at least 32C and possibly 33C in parts of the South East on Friday, while south-western parts of the UK could see 28C or 29C.
The spokesman added: “This weekend is much more promising than last weekend with plenty of sunshine around, although the north of England could see a few showers on Saturday.”
The heat is likely to continue into next week.