Boiling heat will blow across Europe this week as the UK’s hottest summer continues.
The Met Office says Europe’s “furnace” heatwave means it is “likely” the continent’s all-time top temperature of 48C will be broken.
Weather experts say Spain’s heat will then spread to the UK, with predictions of 40C in France and “low 30s” in Britain over the weekend.
The Weather Outlook says the UK could then see temperatures as high as 36C next week.
New Met Office figures show this year’s summer has – on average – been even hotter than the famous heatwave of 1976.
July’s average UK maximum temperature was 22.6C from July 1-30, hotter than 1976’s 21.6C, and the second-hottest since records began 108 years ago in 1910, behind only 2006’s 23.2C.
June’s average UK maximum temperature was 19.9C, the same as June 1976.
Bookmaker Coral cut odds on the hottest British August ever at 5/4, with a spokesman dubbing 2018 the “never-ending summer”.
Ladbrokes also cut odds on August highs beating Britain’s 38.5C (101.3F) record, set on August 10, 2003, at Brogdale, Kent.
Met Office forecaster Richard Miles said: “With 48C expected in Iberia, highs are likely to beat records. Tourists in Spain and Portugal clearly need to take care in such high temperatures.
Brits are basking in the blistering heat
“Continental heat will move up to Britain from the south. The low 30s are possible from Friday to Sunday.
“The South and East will be hottest and it will be a warm weekend for most, although cooler in the North.”
The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “Record-breaking heat in Spain and Portugal is forecast to approach 50C.
“In Britain, Friday could be as hot as last Friday, with 34C not out of the question.
“Then, as furnace heat over Spain moves northwards over the weekend, computer models indicate temperatures in southern England rising to 36C.”