Millions of people in several parts of the world have been experiencing intense heat.
Such periods occur within natural weather patterns, but globally they are becoming more frequent, more intense and are lasting longer due to global warming.
BBC correspondents are in some of the regions where temperatures have been markedly higher than usual.
Justin Rowlatt – BBC Climate editor reporting from Murcia, Spain
It’s been a long and very hot day here in southern Spain.
I’ll be honest, we’ve retreated to our hotel room and – yes – the air conditioning, to finish our work.
But it has been fascinating have the chance to talk to people here.
Lots of them say they believe global warming is reshaping the climate in the region in a dramatic way.
They say it is becoming more and more like North Africa.
The Sahara Desert is slowly creeping into Europe, was how one man described what he believes is happening.
And the changes are raising fundamental questions about the future.
Questions like how viable will agriculture be in the future and will tourists still want to come here in summer?
Because, of course, climate change means southern Spain – like the rest of the world – is only going to get hotter.
Sofia Bettiza – reporting from Palermo, Sicily
The Palermo region in Sicily is where, two years ago, the highest temperature in Europe was recorded – this could now be exceeded in the coming days.
Monday was scorching hot and the air felt stifling and oppressive.
Palermo has been placed under a red alert warning, which means the heat poses a threat to everybody – not just to more vulnerable groups such as young children and the elderly.
Getting here was a struggle, as a fire broke out last night and led to one of the island’s major airports, Catania, being shut down.
It is still unclear whether the fire is linked to the heatwave.
But in the last few years, Sicily has seen wildfires in the hottest months – which have devastated several areas of the island. Last summer, 55,000 hectares of land were lost.
Bernd Debusmann Jr – reporting from Phoenix, Arizona
As Phoenix, Arizona continues to grapple with a series of scorching days, advocates have been left scrambling for solutions to keep the city’s unhoused population safe in the heat.
About 1,100 people sleep rough on Phoenix’s streets at any given time.
In recent days, homeless advocates have described having seen emergency responders increasingly called to treat unhoused patients for potential heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Dr Nasser Hajaig, the medical director of Circle the City – an organisation with two “respite centres” and outreach teams in the city – said many unhoused in Phoenix “don’t have someplace cool to go, and they don’t have direct access to water”.
“It’s difficult, because sometimes once we leave they’re still on the streets,” he told the BBC on Friday. “It’s a brutal summer. It’s just awful”.
The attitude of Phoenix’s population towards the unhoused during the heat wave, he added, has been mixed.
“I’ve seen businesses be very good, give people water, bring them in and help them out,” he said. “But I’ve also seen the opposite side of humanity… some businesses make them leave unless they’re shopping or buying something.”
Samantha Granville – reporting from Las Vegas, Nevada
The usually crowded streets of Las Vegas were considerably emptier than normal on Sunday, with security guards guarding the fountains of upscale casinos and hotels to prevent people from jumping in.
Las Vegas’ famous strip was a quiet inferno. Some people walked outside, but mostly just to cross the street to the next casino.
At a taco shop on the strip, the tables were all full of patrons dripping with sweat and looking utterly wiped out from the heat. Workers too were draped in the booths, not speaking to each other, but fanning themselves down.
Inside the casinos though, business continued and as the air conditioning was blasting so high people were wearing jumpers to stay warm.
The heat is set to continue for the foreseeable future, and authorities are warning that vulnerable people – including children, pregnant women and the elderly – are at serious risk of heat-related illness.
Mobile clinics report treating homeless people suffering from third-degree burns. Public buildings in some parts of California and Nevada have been turned into “cooling centres” where people can take refuge from the heat.
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