Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Health warnings have been issued across Europe this week, as the most severe heatwave of an already hot summer is expected.
Temperatures above 104 degrees are predicted for eastern and southeastern Europe later in the week, London meteorologist Matthew Dobson said. He added that France may share in the heat wave.
The summer's higher-than-normal temperatures were a factor in last month's wildfires in Portugal, France and Spain -- with hot air and dry soil forming a continuous feedback loop.
Italy is dealing with its worst drought in 60 years, and cities across the country have rationed water and banned use of drinking and decorative fountains. A similar drought in Spain is threatening olive and grape harvests.
July was 3.6 degrees hotter than average in central, eastern and southern Europe, Dobson said, while Scandinavia was two degrees colder than average.
The hot weather in Europe is part of what scientists say is an increase in surface temperatures around the world. In the first six months of this year, the average temperature worldwide was 2 degrees above the 1950-1980 average, NASA said -- making the first half of 2017 the second-hottest on record, behind last year.