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Heatwave to hit western Europe this week, unusually high temperatures could reach 40 degrees

A boy cools off under a pipe of flowing water on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

A heatwave hitting western Europe will see temperatures possibly exceed 40 degrees in unusual heat for early summer.

Temperatures could breach 40 degrees in parts of southern and central Spain this weekend, between 10 and 12 degrees higher than usual values for the time of year.

If the mercury does rise above 40c, it will be just the fourth time since records began that this occurred in Spain in the month of May.

Temperatures are forecast to hit 37 degrees in Madrid this weekend, 39 in Seville and over 30 degrees in Berlin and other parts of Germany and France.

The heat has already triggered many thunderstorms across Europe, with some filtering as far west as the UK.

This increase in temperature is due to a shift in wind direction from a northeasterly direction in recent times to a south-southwesterly wind, bringing with it warmer weather.

A man uses an umbrella for shade as he carries a dismantled car on a cycle rickshaw to a scrapyard on a hot weather day on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Amit Dave

The airflow from the south will see temperatures far exceed averages for this time of year, with many European capitals experiencing temperatures in excess of 30c this weekend and early next week.

However, Ireland will not be affected by the unusual heat – with temperatures set to remain rooted in the low to mid-teens with highs not forecast to exceed 20c in the coming week.

Highest temperatures tomorrow will be between 13C to 16C, according to Met Éireann.

It said that on Saturday, highest temperatures will be between 14C and 17C in mostly light to moderate southwesterly winds, increasing strong at times on western coasts. On Sunday, it will be mildest in the east with temperatures set to reach between 14C and 18C or 19C. 

The latest evidence of climate change in western Europe comes following a heatwave across India and Pakistan which has seen temperatures hit near 50c throughout March and April, resulting in the warmest spring months in India for over 120 years.

The city of Nawabshah in Pakistan recorded a scorching 49.5c, resulting in the government’s climate change minister to declare 2022 a “springless year”. At least 90 people lost their lives due to the heatwave but the final death toll is believed to be much higher.

A man stands under an artificial waterfall to cool off at a water park on a hot weather day in Gandhinagar, India, May 18, 2022. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Meanwhile, the southwestern United States also experienced extreme heat and forest fires much earlier than expected for the time of year.

More than 1.3m acres of land has been burned by wildfires in the US so far this year, which 70pc higher than average.

Wildfires in New Mexico, California and many other states are currently burning in what officials have called a “really early fire season”.

A boy cools off on a broken water pipe on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis