Never before has the temperature climbed above 20 C during the winter in the United Kingdom – until this week.
The record U.K. temperature for February has actually been broken twice over the past few days.
On social media, users were posting photos of a snowy wonderland at the same time last year compared to spring-like scenes this year.
France has also been exceptionally warm with a record high of 19 C in Paris and a scorching maximum of 28 C in the southwestern part of the country.
Meantime, the high in London today is cooler at 14 C which is still about four degrees above average for late February.
A warm air mass from north Africa has caused temperatures to skyrocket into the 40s C throughout the Iberian Peninsula challenging all-time heat records in Europe.
Lisbon, Portugal set a new maximum for 04 August at 44°C and even overnight lows are barely falling below 30°C.
Hundreds of firefighters are battling wildfires in the Algarve region and in neighbouring Spain.
The water in some rivers has become so overheated that fish are dying on a mass scale.
Forecasters say the heat is moving east and will affect France and Germany over the next few days.
The hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe is 48°C (118.4°F) set in Athens, Greece in July 1977.
Flooding along the River Seine in Paris, France, 27 Jan 2018 (Reuters)
According to France’s meteorological agency, rain in December and January has led to the third wettest period ever in Paris which is why the River Seine and other tributaries in northern France have spilled their banks.
The river is expected to peak on Sunday at 6 metres – normally it measures 2 metres – slightly below the exceptional flooding in 2016 and the disastrous flood of 1910.
Some riverside restaurants have been submerged and roads and parks have been closed due to high water levels.
All boat traffic on the Seine has been halted including tourist cruises, some Metro stations are shuttered and the Louvre has shut down the museum’s lower level as a precaution.
Temperatures across southern Europe have been so hot in recent days – climbing to more than 40 C in some areas – the heat wave has been called “Lucifer”.
Several deaths have been reported and severe weather warnings have been issued in Spain, France, Italy and the Balkan States.
Serbia’s capital Belgrade reached a scorching 39 C and train service in the southern part of the country was halted after rail tracks buckled in the extreme heat.
By contrast, northern Europe has been much cooler and wetter with the thermometer dropping as low as 4 C in the Scottish Highlands.
Seine River overflows in Paris, France, 02 June 2016 (Getty Images)
Water levels on the Seine River in Paris are decreasing after peaking earlier today at more than five metres above normal – a 35-year high.
However, French officials say it could be days before the Seine returns to normal.
Curators at the Louvre were scrambling to move tens of thousands of artworks from basement storage to safer areas upstairs.
Days of rain have soaked Western Europe and at least 16 people have been killed by flooding in parts of France, Germany, Romania and Belgium.
Waves crash the seawall at Dawlish in Devon, England, 28 October 2013 (Reuters)
Hurricane strength winds battered Britain, northern France, the Netherlands and Scandinavia on Monday, cutting power and hampering air and rail travel.
Gusts of up to 160 km/h lashed southern England and Wales – the worst in a decade according to forecasters.
Thousands of London commuters were stuck at home after train and Tube lines were forced shut by toppled trees and power failures.
Reports say more than a dozen people have been killed so far in the powerful autumn storm.
Snow being shoveled in Brighton, England, UK, 12 March 2013 (Reuters)
Snow and freezing conditions disrupted various forms of travel across Western Europe today.
Eurostar train service between London and Paris was halted and plows couldn’t keep up with the snow at Frankfurt Airport where hundreds of flights were cancelled.
Forecasters say the snow was the result of cold air from Russia colliding with a low pressure system over northern France.
Motorists were also stuck in their cars in southern England where as much as 15 cm of snow fell.
Snow in central London, 18 Jan 2013 (BBC)
Snow fell in southern England and Wales yesterday cancelling flights out of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, disrupting trains and causing delays for motorists.
According to the UK Met Office, temperatures are expected to be near or just below freezing throughout the weekend which means the snow will likely stick around for a while.
Higher elevations could see as much as 30 cm of snow while London was expecting about 10 cm.
Snow also fell in northern France with Paris also picking up as much as 10 cm.
Firefighters clear snow Bucharest, Romania, 05 Feb 2012 (Reuters photo)
Frigid temperatures, which have plummeted to -30 C and lower in parts of Eastern Europe including Ukraine, have lead to the deaths of more than 130 people.
The lingering cold spell is the worst in at least six years with many of those who have died being homeless.
Snow lovers are basking in Sarajevo where a record 107 cm has fallen.
Meantime, about 15 cm of snow has fallen in parts of England and temperatures dropped to -10 C with travel disrupted in London.
A coating of snow was also reported in Paris with more to come in northern France.