Parts of Europe are experiencing their most extreme heat in more than a decade as temperatures hit 44ºC (111F).
Several countries have issued health warnings as this week’s record-breaking weather conditions continue to affect swathes of the continent.
Sweltering temperatures in Italy have sparked wildfires, and dozens of towns and cities are on the health ministry’s maximum heat alert.
The heatwave has left some regions facing the threat of severe drought.
Health warnings are in place in the parts of Europe where temperatures have reached potentially dangerous levels.
Italy and the Balkans are the most severely affected, with areas as far north as southern Poland also exposed to unusually high temperatures.
At least two people have died –– one in Romania and one in Poland –– and dozens more have been taken to hospital suffering from conditions related to the extreme weather, Reuters news agency reports.
Italy is currently experiencing temperatures 10ºC higher than the average for this time of year. People have been urged to follow advice from the authorities, stay indoors and drink plenty of water.
On Wednesday, the mercury rose to 44ºC in Sardinia.
On Thursday, temperatures hit 43ºC near Rome while Sicily recorded 42ºC as a blanket of hot air from Africa swept through the Mediterranean.
Tourists and locals have been cooling off in cities across southern Europe by dousing themselves in water from public fountains and walking the streets under the shade of parasols.
High temperatures are expected to continue in parts of central Europe and the Balkans in the coming days, according to European weather service Meteoalarm.
The heatwave is expected to last until at least Monday, with health warnings issued in several European cities.