According to Spain’s State meteorological agency, AEMET, Europe’s 41-year record could even be broken.
This was set on July 10, 1977, when thermometers shot up to 48ºC in the shade in the Greek capital, Athens.
Spain’s and Portugal’s record temperatures are much more recent but showed very little difference.
The hottest-ever reading in Spain was just a year ago, on July 13, when the weather station in Montoro (Córdoba province) in inland Andalucía showed a reading of 47.3ºC in the shade.
Portugal’s highest-ever temperature was 47.4ºC, on August 1, 2003, in Amareleja in the district of Beja, inland and towards the south.
And weather experts believe the mercury could even rise to 50ºC in the shade during the hottest part of the day, which is normally around 16.00 or 17.00 in Spain.
Even in northern Europe, thermometers are expected to rise to the low or middle 30s – in fact, the UK has registered nine days so far since the beginning of July where the temperature has been above 30ºC, a phenomenon not seen since the record summer of 1976 – although twice as many days with temperatures over 30ºC were registered that year, the data were taken for the whole of July and August, meaning 2018 could still equal or even beat it.
Heath fires, including a blaze on Greater Manchester’s Saddleworth Moor, have kept UK firefighters busier than ever, and forest fires have even been reported in Arctic Sweden.
Tourism industry traders in Spain have begun to notice a fall in the number of British holidaymakers visiting, and tour operators in the UK say business is slack this summer because of so many Britons opting to spend their break on home turf due to the sweltering weather, with the mercury up to levels normally seen on the Spanish Costas at this time of year.