France is set to experience record temperatures for the month of May as a "heat dome" fuelled by bursts of hot weather from the Sahara hits much of the country.
National forecasting centre Météo France, which warned of a May heatwave back in March, said temperatures of between 30°C and 35°C were unusual in terms of their “earliness, durability and geographical extent".
"We are already in an anomaly of plus 2.7 degrees compared to the average,” Alix Roumagnac from Météo France told France Info, adding that sizzling temperatures would continue until the weekend.
A report from the European Commission said the hottest May day since measurements began was expected on Wednesday, particularly in the Rhone valley.
In some cities, such as Lyon, temperatures exceeding 30°C are predicted for at least five days in a row.
It's a rare May event that is observed “only once in a century”, Météo France said, adding the last time was in 1945.
However the Channel coast will be largely spared the hot temperatures, with Cherbourg only expected to hit a top of 18°C.
Meteorologists say the abnormal temperatures risk becoming more frequent in the coming years as a result of climate change.
“Heatwaves are set to become more frequent and tend to set in earlier in the spring than before," Météo France said.
Next week is set to bring some relief from the hot weather, with storms and rain predicted to cool much of the country.