The extremely high temperatures are caused by an influx of hot air from Africa. Portugal issued red health alerts for extreme heat for more than half the country on Saturday, with thermometers approaching 46 degrees Celsius (114.8 degrees Fahrenheit). The country’s highest ever recorded temperature was 47.4 C (117.3 F) in 2003. Temperatures in Spain are expected to reach 45 C (113 F) in the cities of Seville, Huelva, Badajoz and Cordoba. Spain’s all-time record of 46.9 C (116.42 F) was set in Cordoba in July 2017. Spaniards scurried to the beach with families and friends, along with swarms of sweating tourists. Heatstroke killed three people in Spain on Friday.
The hot, dry conditions have also led to several wildfires in Portugal. Nearly 700 firefighters and 10 water-dumping aircraft are fighting the biggest outbreak, which has burned 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) near the town of Monchique in the southern Algarve region. Forecasts indicate that the hot air from Africa will not abate until early next week. The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe was 48 degrees in Athens in 1977, closely followed by 47.3 in Amareleja, Portugal in 2003 as well as in Montoro, Spain last year.