Temperatures in south-west Europe could break 48C record this weekend

Holidaymakers warned of extreme heat as forecasters say European record could be beaten in Iberian peninsula

Large parts of southern and western Europe are expected to experience high temperatures this weekend with forecasters warning that thermometers could reach up to 48C in Spain.

Holidaymakers bound for the Iberian peninsula have been warned to expect extreme heat, with the chance of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in continental Europe.

The current record of 48C in Athens, Greece, in 1977, could be broken as waves of blisteringly hot air sweep in from Africa.

Temperatures around the Mediterranean are expected to rise and peak at the weekend, with the highs expected inland rather than in coastal areas, after edging into the low-40s on Wednesday and Thursday.

“These sorts of temperatures are not only exceptional for the locals but people from the UK will never really have experienced them,” said Luke Miall, a UK Met Office meteorologist.

“Especially with it being the school holidays, and the very young and old being susceptible to heatstroke, we’re advising tourists to keep out of the midday sun and protect themselves.”

Temperatures in south-west France could also rise to the high 30s, he added.

In the UK the mercury is set to be significantly lower this weekend although temperatures of up to 31C are forecast in London and the south-east.

Sunshine will return to most of the country but the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will enjoy temperatures in the mid-20s along with scatterings of rain.

The UK has seen its driest first half of summer on record, while last month was the third hottest July ever recorded, but much of the country had cool, wet, windy weather last weekend.

Meanwhile, the UK Environment Agency said it would allow farmers more flexibility in taking water from rivers in the face of threats to crops and livestock after frustrated farming leaders and officials convened a “drought summit” on Wednesday.

The prolonged hot spell has devastated wheat fields across northern Europe prompting observers to cut crop estimates across the European Union, collectively the world’s largest wheat grower, to a six-year low.

Looking ahead to chillier times, the department store Selfridges has defied the return of the heatwave to open its Christmas shop for those already craving some festive winter cheer.

The department store has declared it is once again the first in the world to unveil its Christmas section – 145 days ahead of the event itself – with shelves already loaded with tinsel, glitter and baubles decorated in the hues of a frosty morning.

“We have so many customers visiting from all over the world, eager to snap up festive decorations and souvenirs on their London summer holidays which they can’t buy at home,” said Selfridges buyer Eleanor Gregory.

“Our summer Christmas shop launch simply addresses the growing demand for convenience Christmas shopping outside the traditional Christmas season from many of our customers.”

Contributor

Mattha Busby

The GuardianTramp

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