Cheers and warnings as Europe braces for heatwave
A powerful heatwave is forecast to sweep across Europe's western flank next week, to the delight of fans of the Wimbledon tennis tournament in Britain even as France and Portugal were put on alert.
"It looks like heat will start to build across Iberia later this weekend and spread northwards across France early next week," Britain's weather forecasting Met Office said on its website.
Temperatures across Portugal and Spain and southern France could reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) or more by the middle of the week and reach almost that level in northern France.
"The UK is likely to be near the boundary between this tropical continental airmass and a tropical maritime airmass over the Atlantic, but we do expect to see temperatures rise across the whole of the UK for the start of July," the Met Office said.
Temperatures in southern Britain could rise to more than 30 degrees Celsius at the beginning of next week -- relatively high for this time of year.
London's revered Time Out magazine thought it best to issue a series of warnings to city residents planning to revel in the good weather, including to people tanning in their underwear in the capital's parks.
It added: "Drinking four pints in the shade is very different to drinking four pints in the sun. Sunshine makes booze about three times more potent".
Authorities in Portugal meanwhile increased the alert level to orange, the second highest on a scale of four, for five regions, cautioning the public about increased temperatures and the risk of forest fires.
In France, the heatwave could be the biggest for this time of year in more than 60 years, Meteo-France said.
"Minimum and maximum temperatures will be very high, sometimes reaching records" in southwestern regions of France until the end of next week, Meteo-France said.
The forecast heatwave has prompted concern about increased pollution risks and strains on healthcare.
Airparif, the organisation which monitors air quality in the Paris region, has warned that levels of ozone in the atmosphere could be higher than recommended.
The French health ministry has also warned of the risks from dehydration and heat strokes.
In 2003, a heatwave in Europe led to 70,000 deaths above the normal rate, mainly among elderly people.
© 2015 AFP