The heatwave sweeping across southwestern Europe is expected to peak Thursday in Spain, with blistering temperatures already fueling wildfires across the Iberian Peninsula and France.
The warming phenomenon — the region’s second this summer — is forecasted to last until the middle of the week, with southern Spain expected to experience some of the harshest temperatures.
“For Thursday, we expect it to be the hottest day of this heatwave,” said Spain’s state meteorological agency AEMET.
The valleys around three major rivers — the Guadiana, Guadalquivir and Tagus — will experience stifling temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), it said.
Most of Spain was placed on high alert Wednesday, and AEMET said some regions were “suffocating” — especially in the worst-affected Andalusia in the south, Extremadura in the southwest and Galicia in the northwest.
The country’s health ministry told people to drink plenty of fluids, wear light clothes and stay in the shade or air-conditioned rooms to avoid their “vital functions” being affected.