Portugal and Spain on red alert amid soaring temperatures

Temperatures have passed the 45 degrees Celsius mark in some areas, and could increase further

Portugal and Spain on red alert amid soaring temperatures

A man cools off in a public fountain at the Retiro park in Madrid. Picture by: Francisco Seco/AP/Press Association Images

Temperatures are approaching near-record levels in parts of Spain and Portugal this weekend.

Forecasters in Portugal say a number of inland areas are set to experience temperatures of 46 degrees Celsius or more on Saturday.

Status red temperature warnings have been issued for large swathes of Portugal, as well as several provinces in Spain.

Three people are reported to have died as a result of the current high temperatures.

Extra firefighters and medical staff are on standby until Sunday amid the extreme conditions.

Europe's current record temperature is 48C, which was recorded in Athens in Greece in 1977.

Nuno Moreira from Portugal's IPMA forecasting agency said: "At some places we have 45C, almost 46C... [on Saturday] these temperatures could increase, so 47C perhaps."

The extreme temperatures in the Iberian peninsula are said to have been influenced by a hot air mass moving from Africa.

It comes amid a summer heatwave across Europe, with parts of Britain currently experiencing temperatures as high as 33C.

Scandanvia has also been experiencing high temperatures, leading to an increased risk of forest fires.

According to the AFP news agency, Sweden's previous highest peak - a glacier on the Kebnekaise mountain - is 'no longer the nation's tallest point' after record temperatures led to increased melting.