Europe is cooling off after it's second blistering heat wave of the summer. This heat wave was even more extreme than the previous one that occurred at the end of June. Temperatures climbed over 100°F across the continent. Madrid, Spain recorded seven days in a row ending Thursday with highs near 38°C, or 100°F. Several European cities set new all-time records for the warmest temperatures this week.
Thursday was the third consecutive day of record high temperatures falling across Europe. Paris broke the all-time record from 1947. A new country record was set in Lingen, Germany. The Netherlands recorded the country's first ever temperature at or above 40°C (104°C). Temperatures in the United Kingdom were above 100°F for only the second time in recorded history.
Along with concerns for public health and safety, the scorching heat also put stress on transportation, infrastructure, and historic landmarks. Trains were ordered the travel more slowly, leading to delays and cancellations. There were concerns that the heat could compromise the already fragile roof of Notre Dame in Paris.
The heat wave finally broke as a strong cold front crossed western and central Europe. In the process the front sparked a series of strong thunderstorms that produced flash flooding, mudslides, damaging winds, and hail. The roads near the French Alps, which were a part of Friday's stage of the Tour de France, were blanketed by hail and mud. The stage was halted while roads were cleared. The cooler air was continue to work east throughout the weekend. The weather will not be an issue for the final stages of the Tour de France, which will finish in Paris.