Three people have died on beaches across the south of France amid a heatwave which has seen temperatures soar to at least 40C.
The so-called Saharan Bubble has been linked to the deaths, with one man in his 70s dying of suspected “thermic shock” after experiencing cardiac arrest in calm water.
In two other, separate incidents, a 62-year-old woman died at beach in Montpellier, while another man, aged 75, died at another nearby beach.
They are believed to have died of ‘hydrocution’, also known as cold water shock. French firefighters have advised people against entering water that is too cold, during the heatwave.
In Britain, temperatures are expected to climb as high as 31C this weekend as the heatwave spreading over parts of Europe makes itself felt in the UK.
The RNLI’s Respect The Water campaign, launched in May, is advising people who find themselves in cold water unexpectedly, to float to offset the potential shock.
Today we're launching our lifesaving #RespectTheWater campaign. If you get into trouble in cold water, fight your instinct to panic and #FloatToLive. Find out more at https://t.co/w40xua3FgD. pic.twitter.com/rdK3BeqYOh— RNLI (@RNLI) May 30, 2019
The “enormous” reservoir of warm air that has triggered emergency measures in France is due to send the mercury shooting skywards, with temperatures peaking on Saturday.
Highs of 30C could be seen for eastern parts as far north as Yorkshire, while temperatures will be in the upper 20s for revellers at the Glastonbury Festival.
Western parts are expected to see the better weather on Friday, while the picture will switch around on Saturday.
Met Office forecaster Matthew Box told the Press Association: “There is an enormous reservoir of warm air across Europe at the moment. On Friday we will have high pressure over the UK and low pressure out in the Atlantic, and that will bring settled weather conditions across the UK and an easterly flow of air across the southern half of the country.
These graphics show how forecast temperatures for the next few days compare with average for the end of June. The areas which are expected to become hottest are slightly different from those forecast yesterday. The hottest day is now expected to be Saturday in eastern England pic.twitter.com/oLR4qqEraq— Met Office (@metoffice) June 25, 2019
“Those easterly winds are drawing that warm air from the near continent and that reservoir across the UK and that’s why we’re getting those warm temperatures.
“We are looking at 28 or 29 degrees, perhaps peaking at 30 here or there on Friday and that will be across western or south-western parts of the UK.
“Then we could see 30 or 31 across eastern areas of England; London and the Home Counties through Lincolnshire and parts of Yorkshire, on Saturday.”
The hot spell is set to be relatively short-lived in the UK, with unsettled weather moving in from the Atlantic on Sunday.
The blast of warm weather has led some meteorologists to predict new June records will be set in France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium in the coming days.
France has been bracing for the heatwave, with temporary fountains put in place and plans for public pools to stay open for longer, amid forecasts suggesting temperatures could exceed 40C this week.