France is preparing for a heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40°C this week, most likely beating the June record. It is expected that temperatures will reach 35°C today and will rise further up to the peak on Thursday and Friday.

The north of the country, including Paris, will be the most affected. Temporary fountains have been created and the public pools will remain open until late as part of a hot emergency plan. A water distribution service is also provided and a care plan will be put in place for vulnerable people, including the elderly, as high humidity will cause a temperature of 40°C and up to 47°C in the capital.

Also in Germany, Switzerland and Belgium the June records could be beaten in the coming days, but France is particularly aware of the dangers caused by the heat. The comparison is with the heat wave experienced in August 2003, in which nearly 15,000 died. Within a single month, the first three temperatures ever recorded were all set, at the top of 44.1°C on 12 August.

Meteo France warns that temperatures may not drop until the following weekend, even at night, when the minimum should remain above 20°C in many places. Large cities are particularly at risk. Paris has activated its “level three” extreme heating plan. Level four, the maximum, was never used.

Expected to identify about 900 “cold places” with lower temperatures than the surrounding city streets – such as parks, public rooms with air conditioning and areas where temporary fountains and misting machines have been installed. The city is also keeping 13 more parks open at night to allow people to cool off.

In Spain, the meteorological agency Aemet expects temperatures above 35°C in large areas of the country and over 40°C in the center and 42°C in the valleys of the Ebro, Tajo, Guadiana and Guadalquivir. For tourists on holiday in Majorca or the Canary Islands there will be up to 35°C.