Soaring temperatures across Europe as heatwave continues

MET OFFICE    
     BOILING Spain and France is where the heatwave is expected to be most intense

MET OFFICE BOILING Spain and France is where the heatwave is expected to be most intense

Meteorologists in Granada, Spain, recorded temperatures of 46.6C (115.52F), just shy of the hottest European temperature on record, 48C in Athens in 1977.

Wildfires have raged across Greece killing more than 90 people, and Sweden has battled dozens of fires as far north as the Arctic Circle.

Europe sweltered Saturday in intense heat with temperatures hitting near-record highs of 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) in Portugal, while elsewhere high temperatures melted the asphalt or saw a highway shut down. Authorities deployed 130 soldiers to help with the efforts.

Weather conditions are making it very hard to fight the flames.

British holidaymakers overseas have been warned to avoid spending time in the sun during the hottest part of the day and to keep hydrated as temperatures remain especially high in some European countries. TV footage showed burned out cars and charred buildings the villagers had left behind.

Tourists cool off at a fountain during the heatwave at the Virgin Square in Valencia, Spain, August 3, 2018.

Six people have been injured in another blaze near to the town of Estremoz.

Almost 700 firefighters and 10 water-dumping aircraft are fighting the biggest outbreak, which has burned 1,000 hectares near the town of Monchique in the southern Algarve region.

Old-time plane crashes in Swiss Alps, killing 20 on board
Twenty people died after a vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountainside, police said on Sunday (Aug 5). Police spokeswoman Anita Senti told reporters that it was with "sad certainty" that "the 20 people aboard perished".

In Lisbon, the temperature hit a record 44˚C on Saturday, nearly emptying the city streets normally teeming with tourists.

Large areas of Portugal are on red alert for heat, including the capital, Lisbon. However temperatures are expected to climb again to as high as 39 C in the east on Wednesday.

The extremely high temperatures, caused by an influx of hot air from Africa, were also carrying loads of dust from the Sahara Desert.

The longest drought in decades has been drying out rivers in the Netherlands. Wheat fields have been devastated across northern Europe, driving up prices. Power company EDF said the measures were taken to avoid temperature hikes in rivers from which water is drawn to cool the reactors. It also played a part in the deaths of two men, one in Barcelona and the other in the southern Spanish region of Murcia, according to Spanish authorities.

More than 700 Portuguese firefighters are now continuing to tackle a blaze near the town of Monchique in the Algarve - a popular tourist area in the country's south.

This particular heatwave is due to "a plume of very dry, hot air from Africa", according to Met Office forecaster Sophie Yeomans, with much of Europe being hotter than usual for the time of year.

Authorities on both sides of the Baltic Sea, in Sweden and Poland, have warned against swimming due to a huge bloom of toxic algae spreading because of hot temperatures.

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