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40+ °C heatwave intensifies across eastern and southern Europe this week

Through mid-July, much warmer weather than average returns to the eastern and southern half of Europe; temperatures will surpass 40 °C in some areas. A relatively long-lasting heatwave will intensify early this week and continue into the following weekend. It will remain mild on the west and north, with frontal zones moving in between.

Temperatures are forecast to climb into the upper 30s across many countries and exceed the +40 °C mark across parts of Italy and countries across the south and central Balkan peninsula. Similar to June’s heatwave, the most abnormal temperatures are again forecast for Eastern Europe and the Balkan peninsula.


This pattern will expand across Europe early this week, with the blocking high gradually strengthening from the Mediterranean region into central and Eastern Europe towards mid-July.

July started with dynamic weather, with extensive severe weather periods across much of Europe. This followed the first significant summer season 2024 heatwave in late June. The general pattern is now shifting into a more stable one, inducing a long-lasting heatwave across a portion of the continent.

The Meteogram chart for the central Balkan peninsula (Belgrade, Serbia) shows a significant temperature anomaly of around ten °C above the average and around 7-10 days lasting heatwave.


The second week of July brings temperatures back into the upper 30s across central Europe and even higher into the low 40s across the Balkans, eastern Europe, and Italy. There will likely be multiple days with peak temperatures past 40 °C this week.

Despite July usually being the hottest month of the summer, temperatures in the coming 7-10 days will be much higher than the average for this period.

The blocking high spreads into east-central Europe, intensifying the heatwave


This weekend, a large upper-level trough will sit over western Europe, making air mass slightly cooler than normal in the west. To the east of it, an elongated upper ridge is spread from the Mediterranean into southeastern Europe.


The ridge will gradually strengthen in the coming days, allowing temperatures to climb back into the mid-30s, intensifying a heatwave again.

The southwesterly flow between these two large-scale features will establish a significant warm plume from the Mediterranean into central Europe, the Balkan peninsula, and eastern Europe starting Monday and continuing through the rest of the week.


The new heatwave will bring a much hotter air mass to parts of Europe once the blocking High matures after Thursday. While the large trough on the west gradually weakens, it allows the hot subtropical air to continue across the eastern half of Europe.

The general pattern on Thursday indicates that large heat dome parked across Eastern Europe significantly warm the continent’s temperatures.


From Tuesday through Saturday, the hottest air mass will move from Italy to the Balkan peninsula, spreading north towards Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland. Meanwhile, the trough from the North Atlantic will deepen again, establishing a sharp frontal zone against the dominating upper ridge on the east.

A strong temperature contrast indicates much below-average temperatures across west and southwest Europe on Friday, while the heatwave peaks in the east on Friday and Saturday.


The following 2m temperature anomaly chart indicates how much warmer temperatures will be during the peak daytime hours on Tuesday (left) and Friday (right chart). Central Europe gets the warmest air on Tuesday.

Wednesday through Friday, the pattern peaks the heatwave across Italy, the Balkan peninsula countries, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic region on Friday.


The afternoon temperatures will be much above the average for mid-July, locally even more than 12 °C above. Hinting temperatures will easily challenge the +40 °C threshold.

Below is a video animation of the re-developing heatwave and its progress across portions of Europe this week. Throughout the second half of the week, we can see the development of a strong blocking pattern and significantly warmer air mass underneath.

The frontal zone will create a sharp temperature contrast between western and central Europe, leading to strong upper-level winds from France to the Alpine region and Poland around the following weekend.

This hints at the return of a more unstable weather, therefore severe weather is likely to develop again.

Temperatures will push back into the upper 30s, surpassing +40 °C in Italy and the Balkans


As the upper High gradually expands from the Mediterranean into central Europe and the Balkan peninsula by early this week, temperatures will warm up significantly across Italy, central Europe, the Balkan peninsula, Hungary, Czechia, and Slovakia.

From Wednesday through Friday, peak afternoon temperatures are forecast to reach the mid to upper-30s across the broad region, with each day warmer towards the heatwave peak on Friday.

The chart below forecasts the peak temperatures across Italy and the Balkan peninsula on Wednesday and Friday. On Wednesday, temperatures will climb into the upper 30s across central and southern Italy, similar to those across many Balkan countries.


Friday should bring the highest temperatures for this heatwave. The maximum temperatures will reach around 38-42 °C across southern Italy and the northern Balkan peninsula, specifically across eastern Croatia, northern Serbia, and Hungary. Parts of Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece are also forecast to push towards the low 40s.

The heat will intensify on Tuesday and Wednesday on the northern side of the Alps, with the highest temperatures by mid-week spread across eastern Germany, Czechia, and western Poland.

Into the second half of the week, the effect of a more maritime air mass from the Atlantic will push away the heat further east, so Friday (right chart) is forecast to bring much colder temperatures into the region.


Note that this follows behind the frontal zone, and thunderstorm activity is forecast to return from France to Germany and the Alps after Wednesday.

Through mid-week, the heatwave will also intensify further east into eastern Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova. From Thursday through Sunday, peak afternoon temperatures will be in the upper 30s from east Poland to Belarus and most of Ukraine.

Moldova and southwestern Ukraine could push afternoon temperatures to near the 40 °C threshold on Friday and Saturday.


Heat will temporarily also extend into the Baltic region on Friday.

Due to the elongated nature of the ridge aloft, the heatwave will also reach the Iberian peninsula and will be the most intense in southern Spain. At the same time, the northern parts of Spain will be colder due to the effect of maritime air mass from the Atlantic.

After Wednesday, temperatures will also push back into the 40s across southern Spain. The weather model consensus best agreement is for the heatwave to peak on Thursday and Friday, with temperatures locally climbing to around 43 °C.


It will remain hot over the weekend, but the heat will not be as excessive anymore.

The Health Risks During A Heatwave


During an extended period of hot weather, generally surpassing +35 °C, it is physically challenging and presents an enhanced risk for health.


Sweltering weather, particularly in extended periods – heat waves – is uncomfortable but presents a significant health risk.

Who is most at risk?


Scorching hot weather is uncomfortable for most people. The following groups are particularly threatened by the very high temperatures we encounter during heat waves:

  • elderly people aged over 75 years
  • babies, young children
  • people with chronic/long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, respiratory disease, circulatory disease
  • People who are obese
  • People taking certain medicines
  • people who work outdoors, in hot/poorly ventilated areas, or engage in physical activity in hot weather
  • socially isolated people
  • people who are not acclimatized to hot weather, such as tourists from northern countries


Always stay cool, hydrated, and healthy in scorching hot weather


Staying hydrated is one of the most crucial things during extreme heat. Consider taking these precautions and measures to stay healthy in scorching weather:

  • Drink plenty of water! – A human’s body cools through sweating; on a sweltering day, an adult may lose up to several liters of water. Keep drinking water, and avoid drinking alcohol, hot drinks, and drinks with high sugar content, as they can worsen dehydration. Regular water intake is a good way of preventing dehydration.
  • Keep your body cool; stay out of the sun if possible. Eat small meals, preferably fruit, and salads. Wear light-colored and loose clothing made from natural materials like cotton. Take a cool shower or a cold bath if you feel hot. Also – keep your workspace and living space cool. If you do not have air conditioning, shut the curtains and blinds during the day. Stay in the coolest room, and avoid using the stove and oven as much as possible. If your home gets too hot, go to a cooler place – a library, shopping center, cinema, or swimming pool.


  • Keep your food safe! Properly Store food that needs refrigeration! Food spoils rapidly at high temperatures, and you may risk food poisoning if it is not stored correctly.


  • If you need to go out in the sun, protect your skin, use proper sunscreen and clothing to avoid sunburns, and cover your head correctly.


  • Know your body and have a plan – Ask your doctor if you have any health conditions that may increase the risk of heat-related illness. Call and consult with your doctor if you are feeling unwell. Call emergency help (know the number!) if you feel unwell!


Common heat-related illnesses with symptoms: What to do if it happens?


WHO considers these symptoms’ descriptions and treatments below as informative only – consult with your doctor for details and professional advice:


Dehydration occurs when the body loses too much water to maintain normal functions. Symptoms include dizziness, tiredness, irritability, thirst, dark yellow urine, loss of appetite, and fainting. Drink plenty of water or diluted fruit juice. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and sugary drinks. Move to a cooler space to cool off. If you feel unwell, call your doctor or emergency room.

Heat rash

Heat rash is an itchy rash caused by excessive sweating. Move to a cooler, dryer environment, and keep the affected areas dry. Hydrating creams may make the condition worse. Consult with your doctor.

Heat cramps

This happens during strenuous activity when the body sweats and loses water and salt. Heat cramps manifest as muscle pains or spasms. If this happens, stop all activity, move/lie down in a cool place, and raise your legs slightly. Drink water or diluted juice. Have a cool shower or bath, and apply ice packs. Refrain from returning to strenuous activity for several hours. If heat cramps do not subside, seek medical help.

Heat exhaustion


Heat exhaustion is a condition caused by dehydration, which causes excessive loss of water and salt. Symptoms include heavy sweating, pale skin, fast and weak pulse, fast and shallow breathing, muscle weakness or cramps, tiredness and weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.

If heat exhaustion occurs, the body needs to be cooled and rehydrated by moving to a chilled place, lying down, having a cool shower or bath, and placing cool packs under the armpits, groin, or back of the neck. Rehydration should be done by taking small amounts of cool fluids. Medical help is advised if symptoms do not abate within an hour.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke happens when the body temperature reaches 40.5 °C, a severe and life-threatening condition! Immediate first aid in lowering body temperature is critical, and an immediate call for an ambulance! Find more information on heatstroke here.

High relative humidity during a heatwave can also significantly affect the body, making it physically challenging for those working outside. After high rainfall, intense heating helps evaporate the soaked grounds, resulting in higher humidity than normal.

We use a heat index to represent the real feel of scorching hot temperatures and high humidity. These graphics indicate the real feel of temperatures based on the temperature and humidity.


As we see, when air mass has a temperature around +35 °C, humidity below 60 percent is much less challenging than once the humidity is very high, e.g., above 80 %. Thus, the real feel temperature would be near 50 degrees Celsius.

Even at temperatures close to the 40s, such sweltering hot air becomes hard to handle with even lower humidity, 50 to 60 percent.

Wxcharts, Pivotalweather, and Meteociel provided images for this article.