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Parts of Spain and Portugal braced for 47C heatwave

Parts of Spain and Portugal braced for 47C heatwave

Tyler Roys, a meteorologist from website AccuWeather, said it is possible that "between Friday and Sunday temperatures could reach 49 degrees centigrade in south-west Spain and in parts of southern Portugal".

The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe was 48 degrees in Athens in 1977, closely followed by 47.3 in Amareleja, Portugal in 2003 as well as in Montoro, Spain previous year.

North of the border, however, temperatures aren't likely to top the mid 20s with cloud and rain expected for most of the coming week.

Temperatures could climb back up to 31C in London this weekend, with sunshine returning to most of the country.

However, climatologist Fatima Espírito Santo of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere, told the Observador that the increase is not a heatwave, because the spell of higher temperatures will only last three days, not five. Fires typically flare late in the day when the weather is hottest. The country's highest ever recorded temperature was 47.4 C (117.3 F) in 2003.

Because of the heat, Sweden's highest point, a glacier on the Kebnekaise mountain, is melting several centimeters a day.

Portugal's weather agency says eight places in the center, south and east of the country have broken their local temperature records amid a heatwave.

"Then, as furnace heat over Spain moves northwards over the weekend, computer models indicate temperatures in southern England rising to 36C". Met Office forecaster Sophie Yeomans says that the heatwave is directly connected to "a plume of very dry, hot air from Africa".

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Francois Jobard, a forecaster for Meteo France, said the hot air mass from North Africa could cause temperatures in Portugal and Spain of 45C until Saturday and perhaps hotter. In Greece, a wildfire killed 91 people last month.

"Oh it's awful", said tourist Paul Snell.

"I've been here in the summer but it has never been this hot". Two died of heatstroke in the southeastern region of Murcia, Spanish radio Cadena Ser reported, while another man died in Barcelona on Friday, emergency services said.

Finland's August average is 19C but temperatures approached 30C this week and few have air-conditioning at home.

Even animals are desperately searching for relief from the heat.

Combined with high pressure in charge, blue skies every day, and the ground already warmed up, that leads to a day-on-day build, combining to produce these intense temperatures.

Some places in Sweden have had their driest May-to-July period on record, according to its meteorological agency, and a number of weather stations have recorded only 10% to 15% of their normal rainfall.