According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the intense heat wave came from North Africa†
The UN agency explained that an Atlantic low-pressure system between the Azores and Madeira is feeding the warm front and pushing it toward Western Europe.
10 degrees above normal
And while it’s only mid-June, in some parts of Spain and France, temperatures are – on average – more than 10 degrees Celsius (or 50 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average for this time of year.
In France, the heat peak follows that of the country warmest and driest May ever measuredand the country’s national weather bureau said it was the first heat wave since 1947.
In Spain, temperatures have risen above 40 degrees Celsius – 104 Fahrenheit – in parts of the country’s interior on consecutive days this week, and it has been even hotter in the province of Toledo in recent days.
To make matters worse, Spaniards also have to deal with a dust cloud from the Saharawhich has exacerbated health and environmental stresses, WMO said, noting Portugal had its warmest May since 1931.
In Switzerland, where maximum temperatures were well above 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), the National Weather Service released findings showing that the temperature difference between cities and rural areas was as much as six degrees Celsius.
Drought warnings are an additional concern across much of western Europe, as no significant rainfall is forecast in Europe for the next few days, other than isolated thunderstorms.
Large areas from Southeastern Central Europe to the Northwest of the Black Sea also suffer from droughtsaid WMO, adding that in the US, much of the western part of the country is experiencing the second or third year in a row of drought, with fears of increasing water stress heading into the summer season.
The two largest reservoirs in the US, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, in Arizona, are currently at their lowest levels since they were filled: Both are at just under 30 percent capacity, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor