Lisbon breaks record for maximum temp, hits 44 C (111.2 F)

     HOT PLUME Roasting air engulfing Spain and France is causing temperatures to soar

WX CHARTS HOT PLUME Roasting air engulfing Spain and France is causing temperatures to soar

Fires typically flare late in the day when the weather is hottest.

Wildfires previous year killed 114 people in Portugal's worst such tragedy on record and authorities were this time quick to evacuate more than 100 people from several villages around Monchique.

The World Meteorological Organization says continental Europe's heat record is 48 C (118.4 F), set in Greece in 1977. Thankfully, it is nothing like the extreme heat they've endured this weekend in parts of Portugal and Spain.

In southern Portugal, the town of Evora was nearly at a standstill Saturday as only a few foreign tourists dared to venture out to take photographs of the Roman ruins called Diana's Temple.

Britain has also had a prolonged spell of hot weather with little rain, leaving vegetation in much of the country parched.

In Greece high winds fanned unsafe wildfires which killed more than 90 people.

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Ms Spencer said tourists tended to skip tours to learn about the Roman historic sites of the place, opting for a quick selfie and quickly returning inside. "I've been here in the summer but it has never been this hot".

Spain's weather agency, Aemet, has issued red warnings for heat in parts of the southwestern Extremadura and Andalucia regions Saturday, while swathes of the rest of the country are under orange or yellow alerts for heat.

High temperatures contributed to the deaths of two men on Friday in Spain, one in Barcelona and the other in the south-eastern region of Murcia, according to Spanish authorities.

Temperatures approached 30C this week in Finland, where the August average is 19C. A store manager told the state broadcaster that beer sales would end at 9 p.m. (2000 GMT) as usual though snacks would be available.

Tourists took shelter under umbrellas outside the Louvre Museum in Paris and ignored "No Bathing" signs to paddle in the fountains. "We're from Canada and never felt heat like this before".

She said: "Yesterday was pretty hard going".

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"It's too hot to visit it now", she said.

Mountain railways in Switzerland have reported booming business as city dwellers flee to the Alps. Fishery authorities in the canton of Zurich were combing creeks to rescue fish from suffocation as streams dry up or oxygen levels plunge.

Faced with wilting troops, the Swiss Army has allowed soldiers to wear shorts and T-shirts instead of standard uniforms. EDF said the decision was made to avoid overheating the rivers.

The heat is expected to stick around for a few days, with hot air from Africa's Sahara Desert bringing not only the heat, but also dust particles.

Following its hottest July in 250 years, rainshowers gave Sweden some respite on Saturday across most of the country.

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