Europe is set to experience its warmest day as Spain and Portugal look likely to reach temperatures as high as 48-50 degrees Celsius later this week.
Weather models are currently calculating extreme temperatures in the Iberian Peninsula. The heat is expected to build up due to hot air coming up from North Africa — particularly over southwestern Europe.
It will be the hottest in the region for 41 years.
Spain’s current record high is 47.3°C and Portugal has previously seen highs of 47.4°C.
The current heat record for Europe is 48°C, recorded in Athens, Greece, in July 1977.
Forecaster AccuWeather said it would not only be possible to break the highest temperature on the Iberian Peninsula, but also the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe.
Dr Mark Mccarthy, from the UK Met Office, told Euronews: "The peak of the heat looks likely to occur on Saturday, with southern parts of Portugal or perhaps south-western Spain expected to see the highest temperatures. Temperature records for Spain and Portugal may be broken."
Mccarthy explained that Europe has been experiencing a notable heatwave this summer.
"For northern Europe in particular the jet stream has been weaker than usual and located further north. A blocking high pressure system overas then allowed heatwave conditions to develop", he said.
Spanish authorities have started making emergency preparations for the intense heatwave, which is expected to last until at least Sunday. At least 27 of Spain’s 50 provinces have been declared an “extreme risk” as temperatures look set to begin soaring rapidly.
The worst of the heat is set to strike Spain, close to the border of Portugal, where almost 11,000 firefighters and 56 aircraft are on standby to tackle forest fires.
The risk of fire is high, according to the map of the European Drought Observatory. Germany is at the same level of risk as Portugal, Spain and Turkey.
Temperatures across Southern France are also set to soar, with highs of around 40°C expected within days. The heatwave is expected to see scorching temperatures as high as 39°C in the south, especially near Marseille, by Wednesday.
In the UK, temperatures are set to reach 30°C again, following lower temperatures over the last few days, as the heatwave returns to Britain.