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Portugal and Spain face heatwave with temperatures peaking at 47C

Temperatures are being driven higher by a hot air mass moving north from Africa.

Portugal and Spain are facing a major heatwave with the mercury expected to soar before peaking at 47C in some areas this weekend.

Temperatures are being driven higher by a hot air mass moving northward from Africa.

Forecasts are for a high of 44C in the Portuguese city of Evora, 130km east of Lisbon, and the Spanish province of Badajoz across the border.

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Children in Spain cool off in a water fountain (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

Portuguese authorities have issued a nationwide health warning, including for dust moving up from the Sahara Desert, while warnings have also been issued for 40 of Spain’s 50 provinces.

The Portuguese town of Beja is expected to record a peak of 47C on Saturday.

Spain’s Meteorological Agency says thermometers are expected to begin dropping that day.

In eastern Europe, Poland was also enduring unusually high temperatures as the hot African air pushed temperatures up to 34C.

The country’s power plants went into emergency mode to increase output due to wide use of air conditioning and electric fans.

Authorities in Warsaw placed cooling water installations in the streets and advised people to stay indoors if possible.

In Sweden, the country’s official tallest point is set to change amid record temperatures.

Scientists said a glacier on Mount Kebne, the Scandinavian country’s highest peak at 2,111 meters, is melting and is no longer Sweden’s tallest point.

Gunhild Rosqvist, a Stockholm University professor in geography, said the glacier lost four meters of snow in July alone as Sweden endured record temperatures that triggered dozens of wildfires, even in the Arctic Circle.

In neighbouring Finland, a supermarket came up with a novel way of escaping the heat. The K-Supermarket said on its Facebook page that patrons hoping to cool down could sleep overnight in its air-conditioned store in Helsinki.

Homes in Finland are designed to handle the extreme cold and damp typical of the Nordic region, not the recent high temperatures.

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