The highest-ever temperature records, typically set in late July or August, are likely to be broken across Europe this week as a potentially deadly early summer heat wave sweeps across the continent.
Meteorologists fear previous June highs to be approached and possibly exceeded in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland, with all-time records likely to be set in some countries.
'The latest forecasts leave little room for doubt: we are heading for a new national record,' said Mr. Guillaume Woznica, a French forecaster, now predicting peaks of 45 degree C in the southern towns of Nîmes and Carpentras.
The highest reliable June temperature previously recorded in France was 41.5 degree C on 21 June 2003. The country’s highest ever temperature, recorded at two separate locations in southern France on 12 August during the same 2003 heatwave, was 44.1 degree C.
'At our local Potsdam station, operating since 1893, we’re set to break the past June record by about 2 C,' said Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Eastern parts of Germany, including Berlin, are already experiencing their hottest June on record.
High temperatures are expected to climb further from Spain to the Czech Republic, as the combination of a storm stalling over the Atlantic and high pressure over central Europe pulls very hot air northwards from the Sahara.