Paris has recorded its hottest ever day this afternoon with temperatures reaching all time highs of 105.8F (41C) breaking a 70-year-old record as a heatwave continues to grip Europe.
The temperature was recorded in the Montsouris area of the city, Meteo-France said, beating the previous high of 104.7F (40.4C) set in July 1947.
Meanwhile, all time high temperatures of 107.06F (41.7C) and 102F (38.9C) were recorded in the Netherlands and Belgium respectively.
The soaring temperatures are expected to peak today, breaking heat records across the continent and putting lives at risk.
French energy company EDF said it was limiting production at two nuclear plants for fear of over-heating rivers the stations use for coolant, killing off fish.
Meanwhile Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect at Notre Dame, said he was ‘extremely worried’ that the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling – which was damaged by fire – may collapse completely in the heat.
This was the scene in Paris today as the French capital recorded its highest ever temperature at 105.8F (41C)
People cool down at the fountains of Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower today during a heatwave in Paris
The record temperature was recorded in the Montsouris area of the city, Meteo-France said, beating the previous high of 104.7F (40.4C) set in July 1947. Pictured: Bathers take a dip on the Ourcq canal in Paris today
Earlier, forecasters warned Paris was due to see a 70-year heat record of 104.7F (40.4C) tumble, while Britain was also likely to see its hottest day ever, beating a record of 101.3F set in 2004.
Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands all set records on Wednesday that are expected to be broken again Thursday, while in Belgium meteorologists had to re-draw heat maps to include temperatures in excess of 104F (40C).
Mr Villeneuve said: ‘I am very worried about the heatwave. What I fear is that the joints or the masonry, as they dry, lose their coherence, their cohesion and their structural qualities and that all of sudden, the vault gives way.’
A spokesman for EDF said: ‘Production restrictions are likely to affect EDF’s nuclear generating fleet at the Bugey, St-Alban and Tricastin nuclear power plants beyond 26 July 2019.’
This latest heat wave is being triggered by an omega block, a type of high-pressure pattern resembling the Greek letter that diverts the jet stream – a strong current of air which controls much of Europe’s weather.
As the jet stream – which typically runs in a meandering line from west to east – bends upwards, it allows hot air to surge northward from Africa.
Germany was poised to break heat records set only yesterday as warm air drawn up from Africa caused the second European heatwave this year
Almost the entirety of France was under a weather warning for heat on Thursday including 20 departments on a red warning, meaning immediate danger to life
With Paris in the grip of a fierce heatwave, the Cher river in Auzances is starting to dry up
This was the scene in Lussat, central France, today where the Landes pond has been drastically reduced in size amid the heatwave
Clare Nullis, of the World World Meteorological Organisation, said that climate change was making these events more likely, following on the heels of another heatwave last month which set many of the records due to be broken Thursday.
She told EuroNews: ‘We expect when 2019 comes to an end, we will see the warmest 5-year-period on record.
‘Climate change is very much real, it is not a future distant scenario, it is happening now, and it is playing out through extreme weather events.’
Cooler weather with rain was expected to provide relief from Friday.
The body-sapping, leaden, shrivelling heat was posing difficulties for humans, animals and crops across the continent.
The northern third of France, including Paris, was under a red alert while the rest of the country had a yellow warning and water-use restrictions were in force.
Cyclists in the Tour de France in southern France had to puff their way over the course in well over 30C.
French energy company EDF was also forced to limit production at two of its nuclear power-plants amid fears they could make rivers too hot and kill fish.
People cool off in the sea on a hot summer day as a ferry sails past the beach in Sangatte, France, on Wednesday
People line up to jump off a diving tower on the shore of the lake Ammersee near the small Bavarian village of Utting, southern Germany, which broke heat records Wednesday
People cool off in the futuristically designed ‘Badeschiff’ (Pool ship) on the Spree river as temperatures reach new record highs in Berlin, Germany
A huge thermometer mounted on a wall of the headquarters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change shows a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius in Bonn, Germany
In the Netherlands, farmers have been leaving their cows outside to sleep, rather than bringing them in at night, while Dutch media said hundreds of pigs died when a ventilator failed at Middelharnis.
On Wednesday, the southern Dutch town of Gilze-Rijen experienced 38.8C heat, surpassing a record dating back 75 years.
Belgium registered an all-time high of 39.9C at the Kleine-Brogel military base, beating a record that dated back to June 1947.
And Germany’s western town of Geilenkirche sweltered through 40.5C.
Trains in Britain and France were slowed in response to the extreme weather.
French rail operator SNCF advised travellers in the worst affected areas to delay journeys planned at the peak of the heatwave Thursday.
Thalys and Eurostar train services between Brussels, Paris and London were on Wednesday disrupted by a failure on an overhead power line, although it was not immediately clear if this was due to the heatwave.
A Eurostar train bound for London tore down part of the cable support just outside Brussels. The 600 passengers were eventually taken back to Brussels, the Belga news agency said.
People cool off in the fountains at Toldbod Plads in Aalborg, Denmark
A boy jumps into the lake Ammersee in Utting, southern Germany
Across the area affected by the unusually high heat, people tried to cool off in lakes and rivers.
In London, police were searching for three people who went missing in the River Thames after going swimming while three people have drowned in Germany since Tuesday.
France’s weather office said the scorching conditions ‘require particular care, notably for vulnerable or exposed people’ with almost the entire country under an orange-level weather alert, the second-highest level.
Paris, in particular, remains haunted by the early summer of 2003 when 15,000 deaths were blamed on the heat and the authorities were bitterly criticised for not mobilising fast enough.
‘We need to take care of ourselves but above all others especially those who are alone, and be able to detect the first symptoms of heatstroke,’ said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
Local authorities have placed restrictions on water usage in many areas due to drought-like conditions that have seen ground and river water levels fall dramatically.
This summer’s second heatwave has amplified concerns in Europe that human activity is heating the planet at a dangerous rate.
The June 26-28 blast of heat in France was four degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than an equally rare June heatwave would have been in 1900, the World Weather Attribution (WWA) team said this month.
One study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology said the deadly, weeks-long heatwave across northern Europe in 2018 would have been statistically impossible without climate change.