Met Office spokesperson Grahame Madge said: ‘The heatwave conditions which are affecting parts of southwest Europe and northwest Africa are expected to extend eastward eventually reaching the Middle East later in the week.
‘Much higher than average temperatures are also likely at times further north across Europe, but these will be shorter lived and less impactful.’
‘Communities in the affected regions should expect health impacts and the potential for wildfires.’
Thousands of visitors to the Mediterranean are bracing themselves for scorching temperatures this week after an anticyclone weather system from the Sahara desert called Cerberus began to expand northwards.
Temperatures will shoot past 40C by the end of the week, prompting officials to issue warnings about the life-threatening risk of excessive heat. The Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily are expected to bear the brunt of the heat, with temperatures predicted to reach 48C.
It comes as the searing temperatures caused to some British tourists in Italy to faint, with images showing a woman collapsed in front of the Colosseum in Rome before she was handed bottles of water by concerned passersby as temperatures topped 36C.
Tourists sought refuge beneath trees Italian capital, while others used their shirts as makeshift parasols to shield themselves from the sun.
Temperatures are also predicted to rise to 45C in southern Spain and 44C in Greece this week.