LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Spain and Portugal both issued weather alerts Monday, advising residents to take extra care as temperatures soared above 40 C (104 F) in some southern areas.
The Iberian Peninsula was sweltering in a heat wave brought on by a mass of hot air flowing north from Africa to Europe in recent days, though recorded temperatures fell shy of the day's forecast of a maximum 44 C (111.2 F).
With the temperature in Cordoba hitting 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 Fahrenheit), Spanish authorities placed the southern city on alert due to "extreme risks" from the heat. People across the southern half of Spain flocked to beaches, swimming pools and fountains.
In Portugal, a high of 37 C (98.6 F) was recorded in the eastern city of Beja, while the capital, Lisbon, sweltered in 35 C (95 F) heat. Portugal's General Directorate for Health recommended staying out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Iberia is forecast to start cooling down on Tuesday when the heat wave is due to move into northern Europe, including the United Kingdom.
Portuguese authorities also warned of a high risk of forest fires in wooded areas of central and northern Portugal.
Official statistics show that after an uncommonly dry winter and spring, almost 54 percent of the Portuguese mainland was enduring extreme or severe drought at the end of May. With little rainfall in June, that percentage is expected to rise.