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Records fall as extreme heat bakes Western Europe

Records fall as extreme heat bakes Western Europe

Heat records tumbled and firefighters faced new blazes as much of Western Europe baked in a gruelling heatwave.

The U.K., normally used to milder climates, saw temperatures of more than 40C (104F) for the first time. Germany saw its hottest day of the year so far while Portugal raised its death toll after days of excess heat.

Deadly wildfires have swept the continent. The UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned there was worse to come. Heatwaves have become more frequent and more intense, and last longer because of human-induced climate change.

"In the future these kinds of heatwaves are going to be normal, and we will see even stronger extremes," WMO chief Peterri Taalas said.

In addition to record temperatures in the U.K., several fire services declared major incidents after a surge in fires.

In France, 64 different areas registered record-high temperatures on Monday (Jul 18).

Although the all-time high for mainland France has not been topped, the south-west of the country has experienced its biggest wildfires in more than 30 years. Since Jul 12, fires have engulfed more than 20,300 hectares (49,400 acres) of the wine-growing Gironde region. Nearly 37,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes.

Cooler weather has now returned to the UK and France.