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Wildfires spreading across Portugal's Algarve region as temperatures reach 46C

05 August 2018

If you think it's been a bit too hot here spare a thought for the rest of Europe where temperatures are soaring to potentially record levels - as high as 48 celsius.

Met Office meteorologist Nicola Maxey said: "Temperatures will increase by a couple of degrees day by day with highs in the upper 20Cs quite widely by Friday and into the low 30Cs in places at the weekend".

Europe's weather warning group, Meteoalarm, has already issued red warnings - categorized as very risky and posing a risk to life - for much of southern Portugal and for the Badajoz province in Spain.

The country's highest temperature on record is 47.4C (117.3F) from 2003.

Although holidaymakers might normally expect heat in the mid-30 degrees Celsius in these countries, there is the potential for extreme temperatures - edging towards 50 degrees Celsius.

Alvega topped the charts at an eye-watering 46.8C (116.2F), which came in just shy of the record 47.4C (117F) endured by the southeastern city of Amareleja in 2003.

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England and Wales are forecast to stay generally dry and hot with the exception of possible thunderstorms in the south-east on Tuesday.

Spain lowered its warnings for heat from "red" to "orange" for large parts of the south, but highs there were still predicted to reach 40-42 C (104-107.6 F).

In southern Portugal, the town of Evora was nearly at a standstill Saturday as only a few foreign tourists dared to venture out to take photographs of the Roman ruins called Diana's Temple.

The hot, dusty conditions across the Iberian Peninsula are the result of a mass of hot air from Africa.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe was on 10 July 1977 when Athens in Greece reached 48C.

In the country, the temperature reached 31.2ºC on Wednesday.

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The ties between heat waves and climate change are robust, with climate scientists already tying the Scandinavian and United Kingdom heat waves to climate change. The K-Supermarket said on its Facebook page that patrons hoping to cool down could sleep overnight in its air-conditioned store in Helsinki.

Tourists took shelter under umbrellas outside the Louvre Museum in Paris and ignored "No Bathing" signs to paddle in the fountains.

Mountain railways in Switzerland have reported booming business as city dwellers flee to the Alps.

The small Budakeszi game reserve outside the Hungarian capital Budapest said it was helping its animals cope with the heat with iced fruit and a diet with less meat and more nutrients.

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

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Wildfires spreading across Portugal's Algarve region as temperatures reach 46C