LONDON • Forecasters have warned of potentially record-breaking temperatures in Spain and Portugal this week as much of Europe swelters in a heatwave that has left some farmers suffering drought conditions.
The current European record is 48 deg C set in Athens in July 1977, BBC reported.
Temperatures are rising in Spain and Portugal, aided by a surge of hot air sweeping in from Africa. BBC Weather says the current forecast for south-western Spain and southern and south-eastern Portugal is 47 deg C for yesterday and today.
The Portuguese capital Lisbon could see a high of 41 deg C today, according to CNN forecasters. Its average temperature for this time of year is usually 28 deg C.
Portugal has warned of a high risk of forest fires, fearful of a repeat of blazes that killed 114 people last year, a disaster that forced the Interior minister to resign. Wildfires in Greece last month killed 91 people.
Portugal's national temperature record is 47.4 deg C, set in 2003. Spain's peak of 47.3 deg C was set only in July last year, BBC said.
In Britain, temperatures are expected to reach about 33 deg C in the south-east.
Spain's national weather service has put a warning in place until at least tomorrow, saying the heatwave will be "especially intense and lasting in the south-west". A heatwave warning was also in place across much of southern and eastern France on Thursday.
Vacationers have been warned to take precautions against extreme temperatures, as the heatwave coincides with the peak holiday season in Europe.
Italy also issued red alerts - the highest of three warning levels - across the centre and north, indicating widespread health risks in cities, including tourist magnets Rome, Florence and Venice.
Heatwaves have become common in Italy, with some 23,880 people dying of heat-related problems in 23 Italian cities between 2005 and 2016, a report by the Italian region of Lazio found.
Forecasters expect Italy's heatwave to break over the weekend, with powerful thunderstorms across much of the country.
In the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, police warned people not to touch the grenades, mines and other weapons that have emerged from the mud on the banks of the River Elbe since the heatwave caused a drastic reduction in the water level.
In just a few weeks, police have found 24 pieces of World War II munitions - dumped at the end of the conflict by Russian, Western and German forces - near the water, compared with 12 in the whole of last year, Reuters reported.
The searing heat has also devastated wheat fields across northern Europe, while a combination of dry conditions and extreme rain in the Black Sea have hit output estimates, with prices soaring on fears of further crop damage.
Evidence of serious harm to crops is growing in Germany, the European Union's second-largest wheat producer, and in Scandinavia, prompting further cuts to estimates for the 28-member bloc.
"The situation is catastrophic in northern Europe," Strategie Grains head analyst Andree Defois said on Thursday.
The consultancy last week cut its forecast for this year's soft wheat harvest in the EU, collectively the world's largest wheat grower, below 130 million tonnes, a six-year low, and Ms Defois said it could revise the estimate again, Reuters reported.