With France, Spain, Italy and parts of central Europe hard hit by the record-breaking temperatures, officials pleaded with people to take common sense precautions.
France’s new record temperature of 45.9 degrees C was registered in Gallargues-le-Montueux, a village in the southern department of Gard near Montpellier, breaking successive records set earlier in the day.
This is the same area where the previous high of 44.1 degrees Celsius was set in August 2003. The new record makes France just the seventh European country to have recorded a plus 45-degree temperature, along with Bulgaria, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece and North Macedonia.
Two deaths linked to the heat wave were reported in Spain. Heat-related deaths have also been reported in Italy, France and Germany, mainly among the elderly.
In Spain, firefighters continued to battle a large forest fire that broke out Wednesday in the northeastern Catalonia region. Spain’s north-east was on red heat wave alert denoting “extreme risk”.