LONDON — Never in recorded history has Paris been hotter than it was Thursday.
The same was true of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, as temperatures rose and records tumbled one by one across Western Europe, scorching the continent and sending residents scrambling to seek relief from a dangerous heat wave.
In Paris, the temperature soared to 42.6 degrees Celsius (108.6 Fahrenheit), breaking a record set in 1947, 40.4 degrees Celsius, according to the French national weather service, which said the temperatures could rise further. Some 20 million people in northern France were expected to be affected by the heat.
In the Netherlands, temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), shattering the record high set only a day earlier, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute said. In Germany, the northwestern town of Lingen hit 41.5 Celsius (106.7 Fahrenheit).
And for a second time last week, Belgium measured its hottest day, with a temperature of 40.6 Celsius in Kleine Brogel (105 Fahrenheit) on Thursday passing the mark set a day earlier, 40.2 Celsius. Authorities issued a code red alert for the first time since the weather warning system was put in place 20 years ago.
“It’s really shocking to have this heat in Brussels,” said Francesca Van Daele, a student of political science at the Free University of Brussels-VUB. “Our urban planning is not really made for heat waves like this.”