Scorching temperatures in Portugal and southern Spain aided by a wave of heat from North Africa are expected to rise even further this weekend.

Portugal’s heatwave is expected to bring temperatures close to Europe’s record of 48C (118F).

Eight places across the centre, south and east of the country have already broken their local temperature records in the unprecedented hot weather.

Temperatures in many inland areas built on Friday to 45C (113F), while Beja, in the Alentejo region, is expected to record a peak of 47C (116F) today

Heat warnings were also issued for 41 out of Spain’s 50 provinces where temperatures were expected to reach 44C (111F). Sevilla, Huelva and Cordoba provinces have been placed on Red alert for extreme weather conditions by AEMET, the Spanish Meterological Office Emergency services have issued a red alert, placing extra services such as medical staff and firefighters on standby until Sunday.  Fires typically flare late in the day when the weather is hottest. Spain’s highest recorded temperature is 46.9C (116F) in Cordoba last July.

Temperatures are being driven higher across the Iberian peninsula by a hot air mass moving northward from Africa, which is  also bringing dust from the Sahara Desert, meteorologists said.

The World Meteorological Organisation said Europe’s record is 48C in Athens, Greece in 1977.