Summer heat sizzles Europe: Portugal and Spain could see record temperatures

With Europe facing a wide-ranging heatwave, some areas of Spain and Portugal are bracing for potentially record-breaking temperatures.

The current European record of about 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius), which was registered in Athens during the summer of 1977, could be broken in the Iberian Peninsula, which includes Spain and Portugal, said Becky Mitchell, a meteorologist with the national weather service in the United Kingdom (U.K.).

“Temperatures in that region across Iberia look likely to peak on Saturday,” Mitchell told ABC News, adding that the area could see temperatures hovering around 116 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) and predicting that the 1977 record could be broken.

“Even if they don’t reach the 48 [degrees Celsius], they could break their own individual records as a country as well,” she said.

The national temperature records for Spain and Portugal are 47.3 degrees Celsius and 47.4 degrees Celsius respectively, Mitchell said.

A mass of very hot air from Africa and a period of little wind have contributed to what she called “home-grown“ heat — which has been building up and could potentially lead to record-breaking temperatures.

Climate change means that extreme temperatures are more likely, Mitchell said, adding that by 2040, temperatures like the ones that Europe is currently facing could become “the new normal.”

The U.K. is currently enjoying a slightly more tolerable period of hot weather, with much of England’s southeast region expected to see levels of 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) this weekend. With this heat comes uncomfortable, muggy nights for southern Britain, but a tweet from the U.K.’s national weather service on Thursday night reminded Brits that temperatures are much higher in parts of Spain and Portugal.

In the U.K., public health warnings are urging people to look out for each other in the warm weather.

“With temperatures rising, we’re advising people to look out for friends, family and neighbors who may feel the heat more than others,” Emer O’Connell, a government consultant in public health, told ABC News in an email.

“People with heart and lung conditions, older people and young children can all struggle in warmer weather as their bodies find it more difficult to cope with higher temperatures,” O’Connell wrote.

“So our advice for everybody is look out for others, drink plenty of fluids and — if traveling anywhere — take water with you.”

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ABC News: International

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