EUROPE is set “to be as hot as DEATH VALLEY” as the Iberian plume scorches the continent with temperatures that could top 48C.
The mercury is expected to rise to a burning 46C in Portugal, just fractionally below California’s Death Valley – one of the hottest places on earth.
AEMET Spain and Portugal prepare for roasting temperatures
While in Spain too, temperatures could exceed yesterday’s 36.45C – the second highest since 1941.
Here temperatures are set to hit 31C after highs of 33.2C at London’s Kew Gardens brought a sweltering end to the working week on the second “Furnace Friday”.
But today Brits will feel relatively cool in comparison to their European counterparts, as the Iberian heatwave blasts the rest of the continent.
In Vienna, where the mercury has hit 34C, police dogs are being fitted with special shoes to protect their paws as they patrol a beach volleyball tournament.
AFP or licensors A man sunbathes as others cool off in Tagus River at Ribeira das Naus in Lisbon
Bestival-goers soak up the rays in Dorset
AP:Associated Press People crowd La Concha beach in the Basque city of San Sebastian in Northern Spain
REUTERS People fill bottles with water at the Barcaccia fountain in Rome as temperatures soar
Police said they are taking the precaution as dogs will be exposed to the heated sand that can exceed 50C.
The blistering sunshine is widely tipped to pass the 118.4F (48C) recorded in Athens, Greece, on July 10, 1977.
And the deadly scorcher — driven by an African plume carrying Saharan dust with it — will spark a mini-revival of Britain’s heatwave with temperatures of 88F (31C) expected all weekend.
But it could also lead to a humanitarian crisis across Europe with the number of heat-related deaths likely to rise among the old and sick.
The Red Cross has already sent volunteers to the areas most at risk in southern Spain and Portugal.
Reuters People on inflatable boats enjoy the sun as they wait for the start of the Red Bull Cliff Diving competition on Lake Lucerne in Sisikon, Switzerland
Reuters Sunbathers soak up the rays at Berlin cathedral
Peter Jordan Keeping cool in Benidorm, Spain
Twitter Soldiers of 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron carryout early morning beach PT as a way of keeping cool during exercise in the hot weather
Reuters Residents at the Ter Biest house for elderly persons refresh their feet in a pool on a hot summer day, in Grimbergen, Belgium
Reuters Beachgoers enjoy the hot weather on Brighton beach
AP:Associated Press A boy somersaults into the sea at a beach in Barcelona, Spain
And their emergency services have issued a red alert, drafting in extra medical staff and firefighters to cope with the threat.
The highest temperature recorded to date in Spain is 117F (47.3C).
The Sun’s Amy Jones was in Badajoz, South West Spain yesterday — where her thermometer recorded a temperature of almost 122F (50C) in the sunshine.
Official temperatures are taken in the shade.
Reuters People play amongst the fountains outside the Royal Festival Hall in London
PA:Press Association Kayakers on the Regents Canal, London, as another blast of hot weather is set to hit parts of the UK
Rex Features Beachgoers out in force in Weymouth
More than a million Brits could be caught up in the heatwave in Europe, including nearly 300,000 expats in Spain.
The Association of British Travel Agents urged tourists to take g
Forecaster Rachael West told the Sun Online: “It’s feeling pretty pleasant wherever you are, we’re looking at about 3o to 31C on the South coasts.
“The humidity could feel a bit sticky.