A heat wave named Lucifer

hoteuropeTemperatures 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.

Historic flooding sweeps Southeast Europe

Flooding in the city of Doboj, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 16 May 2014 (Getty Images)

Flooding in the city of Doboj, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 16 May 2014 (Getty Images)

More than 200 mm of rain has fallen over parts of the Balkan Peninsula, the Balkans, over the past several days which has led to flooding not seen in 120 years of weather records.

The heavy rain has caused rivers to spill their banks in Serbia and Bosnia and has created landslides which have swept away homes and unearthed land mines from the 1990s Bosnian War.

A coal-fired power plant on the Sava River near Belgrade, which supplies half of Serbia’s electricity, is also in danger of being inundated by floodwaters.

More than 50 people have died in the Balkans and thousands more have been forced to evacuate their homes.