Records broken in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands as heatwave bakes Europe

A heatwave gripping western Europe is continuing to break records with temperatures in Belgium reaching a record 40.2C (104.3F).

The UK is expecting to bake in a record 39C (102.2F) - having already reached 37.7C (99.9F) on Thursday at Kew Gardens in west London and Writtle in Essex, making it Britain's hottest ever day in July and the second hottest day of all time.

Elsewhere, a city record has been broken for Paris in France, and national records have been broken in Germany and the Netherlands.

Europe's record-breaking temperatures:

The temperature hit 40.2C (104.3F) in the Belgian town of Kleine Brogel - passing the 40C mark for the first time since records were kept in 1833.

Germany recorded 40.5C (104.9F) in Geilenkirchen, near the Belgian and Dutch borders on Wednesday.

A record that had stood for 75 years was broken in the Netherlands, with the Dutch weather service Weerplaza reporting a temperature of 39.3C (102.7F) in the southern city of Eindhoven.

For the second time this month, the continent is experiencing the effects of a high pressure system which is drawing hot air from the Sahara desert.

This air is trapped between colder stormy systems and is forming a "little heat dome" over Europe, according to Ryan Maue, a private meteorologist in the US.

Climate scientists have warned this could become the new normal.

"There is a 40% to 50% chance that this will be the warmest July on record. This heatwave is exactly in line with climate change predictions," said Dr Karsten Haustein at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.

Peter Inness, senior research fellow at the University of Reading, said: "The fact that so many recent years have had very high summer temperatures both globally and across Europe is very much in line with what we expect from man-made global warming."

The heatwave is intense but expected to be short, with temperatures dropping on Friday and Saturday.

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