Spain and Portugal buckle under searing heat

Europe’s heatwave has gripped Spain and Portugal. Temperatures are nearing record-breaking levels and will remain above 40 Celsius at least until Sunday.

But it could rise two or three degrees, which would push temperatures above Europe’s record high of 48C, set in Athens in 1977.

Hot air from North Africa has caused the most severe heatwave since 2003 on the Iberian peninsula.

Lisbon will be one of the hottest cities in the world this weekend, while parts of Portugal’s parched southern Alentejo region were forecast to hit 47C.

The hot, dry conditions have led to several wildfires in Portugal. Nearly 700 firefighters are battling the biggest outbreak, near Monchique in the Algarve region.

Soaring temperatures continued in Spain, where three deaths by heatstroke were reported.

In France, cars lined the roads on so-called “Black Saturday”, the busiest day on the roads as holidaymakers begin their travels. But this year, they are accompanied by extreme heat.

More than 700 km of jams where registered in the country on Saturday.