Central Europe is facing warmer-than-usual weather for the second month after temperatures rose sharply in a heatwave in July.

Belgium and Germany experienced severe heat on Friday, as temperatures in Brussels, Belgium's capital, reached 35 C (95 F) in the shade.

It was the hottest day of the year in Belgium.

"This is the highest temperature we have measured so far. It is beginning of August, if there are no more heatwaves it will remain as the highest temperature for this year," Pierre Gallet, weather analyst from the Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute, said.

In Brussels' parks people sunbathed on rugs and sat enjoying the warmth.

However, Belgium's heatwave is not expected to last, with thunderstorms expected over the weekend.

Germans flock to coast

Germany's current heatwave is expected to reach its peak with temperatures up to 36 C (97 F) in eastern parts of the country on Saturday, according to the German weather service.

Thousands of Germans made a trip to the coast to soak in the sea and relax on beaches.

At the zoo in Hannover, keepers treated animals to giant ice lollies and frozen blocks of fruit, in an effort to help them keep their body temperature down.

The zoo's herd of elephants made light work of their block, crushing it with their feet to make it easier to eat.

A pair of polar bears also drew large crowds as they bathed in their enclosure's pool with their special ice lollies clutched between their paws.

Source: Agencies