According to Weather Underground, a reading of 48.5°C was observed at Catenanuova, Italy, on August 10, 1999. Maximiliano Herrera, a weather records expert, suggests that this reading is more consistent with nearby observations than the Athens reading, and thus more likely to be the highest reliably measured temperature in European history.
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Either way, the absolute record has not been reached, let alone exceeded. However, many more local records have indeed fallen this hot weekend.
In Portugal, the capital Lisbon made a new mark on Saturday with a temperature in the city of 44C, beating the standing record by over a degree Celsius. This is still over three degrees below the national record.
Maybe more uncomfortable was the high level of heat retained overnight, making sleeping difficult without air-conditioning, and was just as hard on farm animals and wildlife.
The night minimum made new warm records in Portugal, as well, with Lisbon recording 29.1C and, inland from the capital, in Portalegre at 32.2C. In Spain, the capital Madrid recorded the warmest ever August night at 26C.
Perpignan, on the Mediterranean coast of France, just beyond the Pyrenees, created a new warm night record on Friday night, not dropping below 30.3C.
Throughout the Rhone Valley, Saturday brought a warm night; Lyon, at 25.7C, stayed warmer than the existing record, set in 1983, by 0.8C.
Barcelona Airport started Sunday morning at 27.3C, a new record, from an archive that goes back to 1924.
For Iberia, the heat will now likely decline a little as the mass of warm air travels over France and Germany. The forecast maximum temperature for Berlin, on Tuesday, is 39C. That would be a new record.