The United Kingdom on Tuesday provisionally recorded its hottest-ever temperature reading, with the mercury rising above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time. A temperature of 40.2 C was recorded at London Heathrow shortly before noon GMT, according to the Met Office weather service. The record-breaking day follows the UK’s warmest-ever night, with temperatures in some regions remaining above 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) from Monday to Tuesday, according to the Met Office. The 40 C mark was announced shortly after the day’s first record-breaking reading of 39.1 C was provisionally recorded at Charlwood in the southern Surrey region. The UK’s previous all-time record high of 38.7 C (101.7 F) was set in 2019. Tuesday’s record could be broken again as the day goes on, with temperatures expected to continue rising in the afternoon.
On the other side of English Channel, several towns and cities in France recorded their highest-ever temperatures on Monday. Saint-Brieuc, on the normally temperate coast of Brittany, topped 39.5 C. The western city of Nantes recorded 42 C, beating a decades-old high of 40.3 C set in 1949. In southwestern France’s Gironde region, two large wildfires raging for a week across dry pine forests have forced the evacuation of 32,000 people. The blazes have already destroyed a total of 190 square kilometers (more than 70 square miles) of forest. Fire officials said strong winds and heat are fanning the flames, despite the deployment of waterbombing aircraft.
Germany’s weather service (DWD) said Tuesday that parts of the country’s west could crack the 40 C mark, putting the all-time temperature record of 41.2 C recorded in 2019 within reach. The DWD said the extreme heat is centered on the Western states of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, especially including low-lying areas on the Rhine and Ruhr rivers. Areas of Germany have also raised forest fire alert levels. In 10 of Germany’s 16 states, predominately in the south, west and northeast, the highest of five alert stages has been issued. The Bavarian forestry minister has called on the public to be especially careful when walking through forests, warning that even a single cigarette butt can ignite an inferno.