Europe is scorching in the second heatwave of the summer this week as those in France brace themselves for record-breaking temperatures.
Blistering heat in Western Europe has forced a temporary shutdown of a French nuclear power station and will test competitors in the legendary Tour de France cycle race.
Forecasters predicted new temperatures highs in a string of countries, including Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where the mercury is set to reach 104F (40C) for the first time on Thursday.
Children play at the dancing fountains of the Andre Citroen park in Paris as France braces itself for a record-breaking heatwave
People enjoy the beach in the Baltic Sea resort of Warnemuende, near Rostock, Germany today as Western Europe prepares for the hottest summer ever
Soaring temperatures in France has forced a temporary shutdown of a French nuclear power station and will test competitors in the legendary Tour de France cycle race (pictured)
The same day could also see the all-time record temperature for the French capital Paris – 104.7 degrees Fahrenheit (40.7C) – in 1947 – beaten.
Only last month Europe struggled to cope with soaring temperatures across the continent, which caused wildfires in Spain, France and Germany.
The southwestern French city of Bordeaux saw its highest ever temperature since records began of 106F (41.2C) Tuesday, weather service Meteo-France said.
The new record surpassed a previous all time high of 40.7C registered in August 2003, with the current heatwave set to break more historic levels in France as the week goes on.
French energy company EDF said it would temporarily shut down the two reactors at its Golftech nuclear power plant this week in the southern Tarn-et-Garonne department, in a bid to limit the heating of water used to keep reactors cool.
Extras of the ‘Fete des Vignerons’ (winegrowers’ festival) cool off in the water of the Lake Geneva
Revellers cool off in a lake in Vevey, Switzerland
The flag of the United Nations flutters next to a huge thermometer showing more than 36C (90F) mounted to a wall of the headquarters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany
Firefighters combat a forest fire in Casais de Sao Bento, Cardigos, Macao, Portugal, which has spread due to the heat
How hot will Western Europe be this week?
Here’s the hottest temperatures European countries could reach this week.
UK – 101F (39C) on Thursday
France – 105F (41C) on Thursday
Spain – 100F (38C) on Thursday
Switzerland – 100F (38C) on Thursday
Belgium – 95F (35C) on Wednesday
Netherlands – 100F (38C) on Thursday
Luxembourg – 100F (38C) on Thursday
Sweden – 86F (30C) by Friday
Reactor number two will shut down on Tuesday evening and number one on Wednesday, with both due to stay shut until July 30.
France is gearing up for a surge in electricity use this week, but the national electricity board said Monday that there will be enough supplies.
And as the Tour de France reached its final week in the southeast of the country, ice foot baths and extra water points were on hand to avoid dehydration.
‘In the third week of the Tour de France, I think heat like this could make the difference,’ said Davide Bramati, head of sport for team Deceuninck, whose cyclist Julian Alaphilippe is currently leading the world-famous race.
Authorities around Europe also issued health warnings, encouraging older or vulnerable people to be particularly vigilant.
Germany, France, Poland and the Czech Republic all also recorded their highest-ever June temperatures.
The World Meteorological Organisation said that 2019 is on track to be among the world’s hottest years and 2015-2019 would be the hottest five-year period on record.
In the UK temperatures could exceed the all-time record of 101F (38.5C) on Thursday – asthma sufferers were warned of a ‘toxic cocktail’ of hot, humid weather and rising pollution levels.
Revellers in Switzerland don swimgear for a dip in Lake Geneva
Children refresh in a fountain next to the Chancellery in the hot summer day in Berlin
A man holding a bottle of water walks by a woman sipping a drink through a straw on a bridge over the Seine river in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Rising temperatures during the second European heatwave this month have caused wildfires to tear through forests of northern Spain
This ‘could be extremely hazardous for the 5.4 million people in the UK with asthma, triggering deadly asthma attacks,’ said Andy Whittamore, clinical leader at charity Asthma UK.
In the Netherlands – where most of the country was hit by a ‘code orange’ alert Tuesday – the government activated its ‘national heat plan’, issuing advice for hospitals, retirement homes and even obese people.
Animals were also a cause for concern.
In France, the government banned animal transportation ‘for economic reasons’ between 1pm and 6pm in areas affected by ‘orange’ and ‘red’ heat alerts.
Holidaymakers flock to the picturesque seaside resort of Lyme Regis in Dorset today to soak up the scorching hot sunshine
Kalimba Culverwell from Bournemouth makes the most of the warm start to the day at Boscombe beach today
The warmest areas of southern Britain are expected to reach at least 95F (35C) – and it will be even hotter on the continent
Paris and the eastern city of Lyon have also banned more heavily polluting vehicles from the city centre in a bid to keep the air clean.
The heatwave has also caused water shortages in dozens of regions across France, with a drought raising concerns for farmers producing a host of crops from potatoes to grapes.
The new heatwave in northern Europe follows a three-day temperature peak from June 26-28 in France, which was 7.2F (4C) hotter than an equally rare June heatwave would have been in 1900, the World Weather Attribution (WWA) team said this month.
Temperatures were already topping 86F (30C) on Monday (pictured, in the Trocadero Fountains near the Eiffel Tower) in Paris, but the mercury could soar beyond 104F (40C) on Thursday and topple a record dating back to 1947
The severe heat, which forecasters say will only last a few days but will be exceptionally intense, is also expected to affect parts of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Pictured: People cool off at the Trocadero Fountains in Paris on Monday
‘It’s likely that these three countries will see temperatures at or above 40C for the first time,’ Francois Jobard, a forecaster from the French Meteo France weather office, said. Pictured: The Trocadero Fountains on Monday
One study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology said the deadly, weeks-long heatwave across northern Europe in 2018 would have been statistically impossible without climate change.
Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has highlighted the problem of global warming through school strikes, spoke at the French parliament on Tuesday.
Some right-wing MPs have said her visit is needless, with Julien Aubert of the Republicans describing her as a ‘prophetess in shorts, a Nobel Prize for Fear’ in comments denounced by green activists.