How long will the heatwave last in Europe and why isn't it hot in the UK?

Will the high temperatures still be around for summer holiday breaks?

Image of woman on a beach with a melting ice cream cone
(Image credit: Pexels)

The sweltering heatwave in southern Europe is expected to carry on for at least one more week - with locals and travellers alike struggling to stay cool.

The deadly 'Charon' heatwave, named by Italian meteorologists, has caused record-breaking temperatures above 40C across the Mediterranean, including popular holiday destinations France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Croatia. 

While many of us have been asking, will there be a heatwave in the UK and why is the weather so bad, after a particularly damp July, there's no doubt about one hitting other parts of Europe. 

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Weather experts have even warned that the European temperature record of 48.8C - recorded in Sicily back in 2021 - could be broken. 

The Met Office's Deputy Chief Meteorologist Ele Hands told “Heatwave conditions are widely established across southern Europe and northern Africa, and are expected to persist and slowly intensify as the focus gradually transfers eastwards towards southeast Europe through this week.

“The high temperatures are being driven by continued settled conditions under an upper ridge that is sat across the region, allowing temperatures to build day by day. 

"Unusually high sea surface temperatures are also occurring across the region, with many parts of the Mediterranean seeing surface temperatures as high as 25 to 28°C. This will exacerbate the effects of the heat over surrounding land areas, as even in coastal regions overnight temperatures are unlikely to drop much below the mid-20s Celsius."

So how long will the heatwave last in Europe and will we get it in the UK? Here's everything we know so far...

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How long will the heatwave last and will it reach the UK?

The European heatwave is expected last a fortnight - however it's not likely to head to the UK, according to Met Office spokesperson Ele Hands.

“The southern shift of the Jet Stream that has pushed the high pressure southwards across this region has also led to low pressure systems being directed into the UK, bringing more unsettled and cooler weather here than we experienced in June when the Jet stream was at a more northerly latitude.”

So rather than a heatwave in the UK, we can expect a colder-than-normal August.

Chief Meteorologist Andy Page said on the Met Office website: “This is an unusual time of year for such strong winds and, with many people on holiday or planning outdoor activities, they are likely to cause some disruption. In addition, heavy rain and thunderstorms could lead to standing water and spray on roads and consequently difficult driving conditions. Winds are expected to ease through the evening.

“Temperatures are expected to stay near average or rather cool over the coming days, especially in the rain and wind.”

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Is it safe to travel to Europe in the heatwave?

The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for holidaymakers heading to Greece and Spain on its 'extreme weather' section. They advise travellers to visit the NHS website or foreign health ministry websites for advice on how to stay safe.

On the Foreign Office website, it says: "Extreme temperatures are currently affecting many areas of Greece. Stay up to date with the latest information and visit the NHS website for information on how to take care in the heat.

"You can register on the Greek government’s Emergency Communication Service to receive emergency alerts.

"Localised or severe weather extremes can affect areas of Greece over the extended summer period and this can cause travel disruption. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Greek Meteorological Service or European Meteorological Services, check with your travel provider and follow the advice of local authorities at all times."

Maddy Biddulph
Freelance parenting writer

Maddy Biddulph is a freelance journalist specialising in lifestyle and family-focused content. With 25 years in consumer media, she has worked as a writer and editor for some of the bestselling newspapers, magazines and websites in the UK and US.  As a mum of two art-obsessed daughters, Daphne and Esther, Maddy is always looking for parenting hacks to make life easier. She is also a Level 3 personal trainer, and creates energising workouts for busy mums who need some me time.