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Sweltering heat across Europe has led to several cities in Italy going on ‘red alert’ and record temperatures in Spain.

The mercury hit 37.8C (100F) at London’s Heathrow Airport at 2.41pm, the Met Office said, making Thursday the third hottest day in the UK on record.

But Britain wasn’t the only country to experience soaring temperatures this week.

The Italian Ministry of Health issued the maximum level three, or ‘red alert’, weather warning in 14 cities including Rome, Bologna, Verona and Pescara

People watch a man wearing a T-Rex costume on a paddle board during hot weather at Sferracavallo beach, in Palermo, Italy (REUTERS)

Authorities in Italy urged people to take extra precautions during the heatwave such as drinking more water than normal and checking on neighbours who may live alone.

Daniela Iannelli, a 55-year-old municipal employee in Rome, told the Mail Online: “Even in this stifling heat, it’s better to put up with 38 degrees than catch the coronavirus.”

People sunbathe at Magaluf beach in Mallorca, Spain (REUTERS)

Warm weather in France‘s heatwave saw a forest fire break out in Chiberta forest park at Anglet in the south west of the European country on Thursday.

Around 100 people were forced to evacuate and dozens of homes were destroyed by the blaze, local media reported.

According to RTE News, nearly a hundred fire stations in France were on high alert last night with Paris forecast to reach 40C in the shade.

Bournemouth police brace to control heatwave influx

Dutch beachgoers were told to avoid the coastal town of Zandvoort near Amsterdam in the Netherlands as authorities said crowds were making it too difficult to maintain coronavirus social distancing.

Parts of Spain set new records during a heatwave this week.

San Sebastian on Spain’s northern coast witnessed temperatures of 42C (107F) on Thursday – the hottest temperature there since records began in 1955, the national weather agency said.

The city of Palma, on Spain’s Mediterranean island of Mallorca, set a local record of 40.6C (105F) on Tuesday.

The Spanish weather agency, Aemet, said tropical nights – when temperatures do not fall below 20C (68F) – were also frequent in many parts of Spain in July.

“Climate change is increasing the frequency of heatwaves,” it said, adding that the annual number of days in heatwave conditions has doubled since the 1980s.